CHUCK LORRE’S NEW COMEDY SLAMMED: The midseason sitcom United States of Al, from The Big Bang Theory producer Chuck Lorre, is being criticized for casting a non-Afghan actor in the title role, and for the stereotypical depictions in general. The story follows a friendship between Marine combat veteran (Parker Young) struggling to readjust to civilian life in Ohio, and his Afghan interpreter, Awalmir (Adhir Kalyan). Writer Rekha Shankar tweeted, “Can someone tell Chuck Lorre that 'what if a white person liked a brown person' is not a tv show concept.” Broadway singer-actor Pia Glenn issued a series of critiques, leading with, “I remember hearing about this when it was in development & thinking NAH…surely someone will stop this from going into production. … It truly is Chuck Lorre. Plus America's general disdain for comedy that's smart, cutting edge, & maybe not shockingly racist and/or otherwise offensive.”
LEFT BANK SOUNDS ALARM ON REVENUE: Left Bank Pictures, the production company owned by Sony which created “The Crown,” is warning of an uncertain future for Hollywood. While recent numbers show a record high in revenue for Left Bank—about $172 million—a “vast array” of COVID-related challenges mean the future is in peril. Meanwhile Left Bank is targeting July as the goal for returning to production of the next season of “The Crown,” Deadline reports. Imelda Staunton will take over the role of Queen Elizabeth II.
DAVID HASSELHOFF RETURNS: David Hasselhoff is heading to Germany to star in a comedy spy series in partnership with CBS. A straight-to-series order for Mediengruppe RTL‘s SVOD platform TVNow, “Ze Network” sees Hasselhoff playing himself as an actor who gets wrapped up in an international conspiracy involving Cold war assassins.