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Netflix Picks Up Untitled Musically-Themed Motown Project; Renews Three Series

Digital Streamer Also Announces Launch Dates of a Roster of Upcoming Series

Netflix has ordered an untitled Motown musically-themed series targeted to children and families. The series revolves around a lovable, funny and slightly shy eight year old boy named Ben, who discovers he has the extraordinary ability to bring street-art to life. Ben and his family live in the imaginary city of Motown, based on Detroit and its rich musical heritage. Inspired by the words and melodies of Motown’s classic songs, Ben and his friends Angie and Mickey, along with a cast of enchanting street art characters, discover that creativity is magic as they revive vibrancy to their city and learn life lessons.

Recording artist and songwriter Smokey Robinson will serve as Executive Music Producer on the show, which will feature contemporary artists performing hit songs from the Motown catalog that will serve as inspiration for each episode.

Netflix, additionally, has ordered new seasons of talker “Chelsea,” hosted by Chelsea Handler; and comedies “Lady Dynamite” and “Real Rob,” featuring Rob Schneider. And the streaming services has announced the launch dates of anthology series “Easy” and “Black Mirror,” part two of season one of multi-camera comedy “The Ranch,” romantic comedy “Lovesick,” season two of animated “Beat Bugs,” the revivals of “Gilmore Girls” (subtitled “A Year in the Life”) and Norman Lear comedy “One Day at a Time” and docuseries “Captive.” Here are the specifics:

“Chef’s Table: France”

The third installment premieres globally September 2, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. PT

Audiences are invited back to take another globe trot in “Chef’s Table: France” where the series will showcase the crème de la crème of French chefs; talking about what inspires them and how it translates into their individual styles. The filmmakers embark on a personal look into the daily lives of these carefully curated chefs, from their diverse backgrounds to the evolution and craft of their chosen cuisine as well as their quests for sensory perfection.

The following French chefs will be featured in the upcoming season:
Alain Passard, L’Arpege
Michel Troisgros, Maison Troisgros
Adeline Grattard, Yam’Tcha
Alexandre Couillon, La Marine

A Boardwalk Pictures production, “Chef’s Table” is created, executive produced and directed by David Gelb. Clay Jeter, Andrew Fried and Brian McGinn return as directors, with Abigail Fuller directing as well. Fried and McGinn are executive producers with Dane Lillegard as Co-Executive Producer for Boardwalk Pictures. Seasons 1 & 2 of Chef’s Table are currently streaming exclusively on Netflix.

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“Easy”
Premieres globally September 22, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. PT

“Easy” is an anthology series from creator Joe Swanberg that explores diverse Chicago characters as they fumble through the modern maze of love, sex, technology and culture. The eight-episode series, written and directed by Swanberg, features Orlando Bloom, Malin Ackerman, Jake Johnson, Marc Maron, Dave Franco, Hannibal Buress, Emily Ratajkowski, Michael Chernus, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Aya Cash, Jane Adams, Elizabeth Reaser, Evan Jonigkeit and more.

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“The Ranch”

Part 2 of season one premieres globally October 7, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. PT
Set in present day on a Colorado ranch, this half-hour multi-camera comedy series stars Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Sam Elliott and Debra Winger. Life on The Ranch is never easy and things get even more complicated in part 2 of season one. It seems like ex-football star Colt Bennett (Kutcher) has finally accepted his place on the family ranch, but he and his brother Rooster (Masterson) will have to prove themselves to their father Beau (Elliot) if they ever hope to become partners. Maggie (Winger) has hopes of her own and they may no longer involve her on-again/off-again husband and after finally saving his ranch, Beau might be losing his family. And if life weren’t complicated enough, when Colt’s high school sweetheart Abby (Elisha Cuthbert) expresses doubts about her fiancé, Colt must choose between his current girlfriend and his first love. Dysfunctional doesn’t even cover this family. The Ranch is executive produced by Don Reo (Two and Half Men, My Wife and Kids) and Jim Patterson (Two and a Half Men,Mike and Molly). Kutcher and Masterson also serve as executive producers.

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“Black Mirror”

Premieres globally October 21, 2016 at 12:01am PT

“Black Mirror” is an anthology series that taps into our collective unease with the modern world, with each stand-alone episode a sharp, suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia. Without questioning it, technology has transformed all aspects of our lives; in every home; on every desk; in every palm – a plasma screen; a monitor; a Smartphone – a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us. The series is created and written by Charlie Brooker, and executive produced by Brooker and Annabel Jones. Its third season, comprising six episodes: San Junipero features Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis in an episode directed by Owen Harris; Shut Up and Dance features Jerome Flynn and Alex Lawther in an episode directed by James Watkins; Nosedive features Bryce Dallas Howard, Alice Eve and James Norton in an episode directed by Joe Wright; Men Against Fire stars Michael Kelly, Malachi Kirby and Madeline Brewer in an episode directed by Jakob Verbruggen; Hated in the Nation features Kelly MacDonald in an episode directed by James Hawes; and Wyatt Russell and Hannah John-Kamen star in Playtest, an episode directed by Dan Trachtenberg.

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“Lovesick”
Premieres globally November 10, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. PT

The second season of “Lovesick,” the series formerly known as “Scrotal Recall,” stars Johnny Flynn, Antonia Thomas and Daniel Ings, all returning for more fun in this delightful, romantic comedy. Season two will consist of eight episodes. Series creator Tom Edge returns as writer for season two and serves as Executive Producer along with Murray Ferguson, Andy Baker and Ed Macdonald. Lovesick is produced by Clerkenwell Films.

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“Beat Bugs”
Season two premieres November 18, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. PT

Inspired by the songs of The Beatles, “Beat Bugs” tells uplifting and life-affirming stories filled with hope and melody. The animated show follows five best friends who together discover life’s most important lessons in an overgrown suburban backyard. The Beat Bugs live out these childhood adventures to the words and music of The Beatles.

Created by Josh Wakely, Beat Bugs incorporates more than 50 songs from the Lennon/McCartney ‘Northern Songs’ catalogue and features covers by world-leading music artists including P!nk, Eddie Vedder, James Corden, Regina Spektor, Of Monsters and Men, The Shins, Chris Cornell and Sia, among others to be announced soon. The thirteen episode first season will be available globally on August 3rd, and will be second run in Australia.

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“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”
Premieres globally November 25, 2016 at 12:01am PT

“Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” includes four 90-minute chapters, each spanning one of the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” is created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who executive produces, writes and directs the four 90-minute chapters with Daniel Palladino. The project is from Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

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“Captive”
Premieres globally December 9, 2016 at 12:01am PT

From the highest profile cases to those kept hidden from the public, comes a new docu-series from acclaimed executive producer Doug Liman and producers Simon and Jonathan Chinn. The producers of Captive have gained privileged access to the most challenging negotiations of our time — revealing how hostage-taking, and the efforts to resolve it, have evolved to address an escalating international trend. The episodes look at a wide range of situations from the viewpoint of everyone involved: the victims and their families back home, the experienced negotiators, business leaders, government officials and the kidnappers themselves.

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“One Day at a Time”
Premieres globally January 6, 2017 at 12:01am PT

A reimagining of the Norman Lear classic, centering on a Cuban-American family. Our heroine is a recently separated, former military mom (Justina Machado) navigating a new single life while raising her radical teenaged daughter and socially adept tween son, with the “help” of her old school Cuban-born mom (Rita Moreno) and a friends- without-benefits building manager named Schneider. The 13-episode first season of One Day at a Time is produced by Act III Productions, Inc., Snowpants Productions and Small Fish Studios in association with Sony Pictures Television. Norman Lear, Mike Royce, Gloria Calderón Kellett and Michael Garcia are executive producers.

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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