In case you missed the news, or the fact that all his advice lately involves “securing points on the back end,” Texas Monthly’s the Texanist has his very own Fox sitcom in the works. It’s a fairly faithful adaptation of Dave Courtney’s long-running column, in that it also concerns a guy named Dave who shares his homespun, hard-won wisdom about the Lone Star State with natives and newcomers, while grappling with a Texas landscape that is rapidly changing. The only difference here is that, in TV world, Dave is a radio show host (because really, who reads anymore?). Also, he’ll look and sound like Thomas Haden Church, who’s just signed on as both the lead and as executive producer.
Church, seen most recently in HBO’s Divorce, was born in California, but he moved to Texas as a boy—and the question of whether this truly “counts” is one the Texanist could probably answer. To his credit, Church, a 2005 Texas Monthly cover star, graduated from Harlingen High School and the University of North Texas; he’s lived in El Paso, Laredo, Dallas, and Fort Worth; and he’s owned a ranch outside of Kerrville since the late nineties. So he’s certainly seen and experienced enough of this state to be its pretend sociocultural arbiter on a TV show, if it so pleases the gatekeepers.
The Texanist is just one of several Texas Monthly–spawned shows in the works, along with a limited series based on Wes Ferguson’s recent story about a controversial staging of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America in Kilgore; a CBS project based on “Lagordiloca,” who cruises Laredo at night, livestreaming video of crime scenes to her 80,000 Facebook followers, which draws inspiration from both Leif Reigstad’s 2018 profile and Skip Hollandsworth’s story on a Border Patrol serial killer within the same city; and of course, Amazon’s Joe Exotic series starring Nicolas Cage, based on Reigstad’s 2019 feature. Still available for any interested networks scavenging around these parts: the story of a charismatic yet tormented showbiz news aggregator who lives always on the razor’s edge, dogged in his never-ending search for Texas celebrities in the headlines … and for justice.
Netflix’s Selena Series Gets a Full Trailer—Now With Acting
Texas is also about to take center stage on Selena: The Series, Netflix’s two-part epic about the life of Tejano star Selena Quintanilla. After years of development and in the wake of several teasers that focused largely on Christian Serratos’s stage moves, this week finally saw the release of a full-blown trailer, one that adds some actual plot and a little bit of acting to the mix. As seen in these two and a half minutes, the first six episodes of the series will chart young Selena’s rise to stardom, chronicling all the backstage family drama, secret inter-band romances, and painfully crimped hairdos she had to overcome on her way to achieving global fame. Look for the premiere on December 4.
Mikhail Gorbachev Blamed Soviet Union’s Collapse on Dallas
This sudden rise of Texas-based TV shows is not only a boon for our state—it’s another posthumous stab in the icy heart of the late Soviet Union. As Deadline reported, in one of the more convoluted stories you’re likely to read this week, Dave Stewart of British pop duo Eurythmics recently appeared on Joss Stone’s A Cuppa Happy podcast, where he reminisced on an old conversation he had with former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev. And apparently, it was Gorbachev’s firm belief that the communist superpower was undone not by perestroika or a surge of revolution within the Baltic states, but rather the TV show Dallas.
“What Gorbachev was saying—it was Dallas, the TV show,” Stewart said, noting that it was one of many banned bits of Western culture to make it past Soviet censors and into the black market. “Somebody managed to get a VHS or something to work and broadcast it to part of Russia and they thought, ‘Hang on, that’s how people live in America?’… [Gorbachev] said that had more effect than anything else.” Of course, historians will probably tell you that the Soviet Union dissolved over many things: a stagnant economy, its ballooning defense budget, the shattered public trust in the wake of Chernobyl, that time Billy Joel flipped his piano in Moscow. But sure, we suppose there’s also an argument to be made that the mere sight of the Ewings in all their oilfield opulence might have lit an envious spark in a few communists, inspiring them to become deeply miserable, backbiting capitalist vipers too. Who knows what nation that reboot of Walker Texas Ranger will eventually bring down?
Allison Tolman Will Lead the Next Season of Why Women Kill
Dallas actress Allison Tolman has yet to dissolve any empires with her own talents, though it’s certainly not for lack of trying. Since her breakout in the first season of Fargo, Tolman has landed the lead in two ABC series, Downward Dog and Emergence, only to see both of them canceled after just one season. But Variety reports she’s already found her next starring role in the CBS All Access series Why Women Kill, with Tolman joining Shaun of the Dead’s Nick Frost in the second installment of the darkly comic anthology series. In the story set in 1949, Tolman will play “Alma, a timid and awkward housewife” to Frost’s veterinarian, whose affable exterior hides an unexpectedly sinister hobby. When Tolman’s Alma discovers his secret, it upends their life and her ambitions to become a part of the local garden club—all in a story that promises to explore “the lengths one woman will go in order to finally belong.” Given that the show is called Why Women Kill, you can probably guess those lengths for yourself, but still, it’s worth watching for Tolman anyway.
Luke Wilson Joins Marvel’s New Animated Series
Hot on the heels of his new ABC reality series Emergency Call, Dallas-bred actor Luke Wilson is putting his voice toward a civic duty that’s arguably just as valuable as re-enacting old 911 calls for your entertainment: he’ll play a fire-belching robot duck in the animated series New-Gen, based on the Marvel comic about a team of nanotech-enhanced superheroes fighting to save their world from a raging war. Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard and Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey are also on board, with Wilson’s Roboduck being pegged as the group’s “comical and mischievous sidekick” (as opposed to your usual somber, brooding sort of robot duck). This makes him the second Wilson brother to join the Marvel Universe in recent months, following the news that Owen Wilson is joining Disney Plus’s upcoming Loki series in a still-unknown role where he probably doesn’t even get to belch anything.
Demi Lovato Will Host the People’s Choice Awards
Rounding out a big week for Big D alums, Demi Lovato has been announced as the host of this year’s People’s Choice Awards, which are set to broadcast live on November 15 via the E! Network. Lovato is an unexpectedly controversial selection for a ceremony that prides itself on being as broadly and blandly populist as possible: after all, the singer recently debuted her anti-Trump single “Commander in Chief” and partnered with the Lincoln Project on an ad campaign aimed at mobilizing voters against the president, all of which has riled her apparently extant conservative fan base. Then again, this year’s People’s Choice Awards is also reportedly set to honor Tyler Perry for his humanitarian work on behalf of Black Lives Matter, and Jennifer Lopez for her equally controversial Super Bowl performance, so apparently the People are just choosing to go for it.
Megan Thee Stallion Earns First (Five) American Music Award Nominations
The nine-to-eleven-month slog that is awards season is officially underway, and this week it’s once again Megan Thee Stallion’s turn to collect some nominations. The Houston rapper earned her first-ever American Music Award nods in typical Megan Thee Stallion fashion, racking up five total in her debut to become the most-nominated female artist of 2020. She’ll compete for, among other things, New Artist of the Year and Collaboration of the Year—for both her Cardi B duet, “WAP,” and her “Savage” duet with Beyoncé—and joins a list nominees that includes fellow Texas artists Maren Morris and Miranda Lambert. And if she doesn’t win, I guess she’ll just have to console herself with her BET Awards, her Billboard award, her MTV VIdeo Music award, her No. 1 singles, her Saturday Night Live performance, and being one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. (But, you know, she’ll probably win something.)
Did Post Malone Get a New Tattoo?
Grapevine rapper Post Malone was also nominated for various American Music Awards, including Artist of the Year, but this apparently was not reason enough to get a new commemorative tattoo. Nor was his recent jam session with Metallica’s Rob Trujillo, Red Hot Chili Peppers’s Chad Smith, and Foo Fighters’s Taylor Hawkins, who all joined Malone to celebrate the birthday of his friend and producer Andrew Watt. The pictures from that night show Malone playing guitar and having a grand, non-socially-distant time, which he might have then immortalized by getting Trujillo, Hawkins, and Smith’s faces inked on his back in the shape of Mount Rushmore. But no.
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
Greenlights has been out for just over a week, but already the world feels altered somehow. Slouching a bit more laconically on its axis, perhaps. And certainly, swollen to bursting with far more Matthew McConaughey anecdotes than ever thought possible. A thousand years from now, scientists may be tapping into the remaining three-inch sliver of permafrost to release still-unearthed stories about the time Marvel turned down McConaughey’s request to play the Incredible Hulk. But in the here and now, our air is full of the dank fog of McConaughey’s voice itself, as he mines a seemingly bottomless reservoir of life experiences across every conceivable medium.
This week alone, he talked shark-filled wet dreams with Bill Maher. He told Kelly Clarkson about how his mom tricked him for years into thinking he’d won the (non-existent) “Little Mr. Texas” Pageant. He explained the inspiration for his “alright alright alright” catchphrase to WTF’s Marc Maron, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and Oprah Winfrey (and the story seemed to change slightly every single time). He told Oprah about his brief impulse to quit acting and go become a high-school football coach. He told Dax Shepard about how he’s raising his kids to be proud that they’re rich. And then he told Graham Norton about the time his own dad performed CPR on a dead bird. Hey McConaughey, put it in a book, why don’t you? Another book, I mean.
One word. Said three times.
The legacy of @McConaughey was formed in the first three words of his acting career.
— Apple TV (@AppleTV) October 28, 2020
After spending so much time promoting his newly coronated New York Times number one best-seller with an endless stream of interviews, which seem to have left him permanently affixed to his webcam, you would think Matthew McConaughey has no time for anything that doesn’t involve waxing endlessly philosophic about himself. And yet, he also found a spare moment to pop up on the virtual wall of the WWE ThunderDome during Monday night’s RAW, where former champion The Miz spotted the actor’s unmistakable face, now seared permanently onto our collective retinas, and gave him a shoutout. McConaughey was even a presenter on last Sunday’s Walmart Top-Rated by Kids Toy Awards, for crying out loud, suggesting he’s just pretty much just answering anyone who FaceTimes him these days and agreeing to talk for a spell. Give him a ring and see.