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HBO Max Readies Bethenny Frankel Show, ‘Gremlins’ Prequel

Fern Siegel

HBO Max is gearing up for a May launch. The streamer is expected to debut with 10,000 hours of “curated premium content,” including original programming and licensed TV shows and movies.

The newest show to join the streamer is “The Big Shot With Bethenny,” the working title of a competition series staring reality TV vet-businesswoman Bethenny Frankel (“The Real Housewives of New York City,” “Shark Tank”). HBO Max has an eight-episode order for the half-hour show, in which aspiring business people must demonstrate their creativity and smarts to secure a spot on Frankel’s executive team.

The series is produced by MGM Television, Frankel’s B Real and Big Fish Entertainment, while Mark Burnett (“The Apprentice”) is one of the executive producers.

The streamer also has entered the documentary world. HBO Max acquired U.S. rights to “On the Record” at the recent Sundance Festival. “On the Record” is the powerful story of record producer Drew Dixon, one of the first women of color to publicly accuse hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct.

“The fierce determination of Drew Dixon and all of the women who bravely chose to share their stories in ’On the Record’ moved us profoundly,” stated Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max. It is directed-produced by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (“The Hunting Ground,” “The Invisible War”). 

HBO Max is adding to the cast of director Ava DuVerney’s pilot “DMZ,” based on the DC comic-book series. Freddy Miyares (“When They See Us,” “Doctor Strange”) joins Rosario Dawson and Benjamin Bratt. The story is set in a future America where Manhattan is a dangerous demilitarized zone and the country has devolved into a brutal civil war. Miyares will be a series regular and play the character of Skel, the triggerman of a powerful gang led by Bratt’s character.

For animation fans, Joe Dante, director of “Gremlins” and ‘Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” told Daily Dead he will be a consultant on the 10-episode animated prequel “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai,” set in 1920s Shanghai for a 2021 release. “Mogwai” reveals how 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing in the 1984 movie) met the young Mogwai named Gizmo. A perilous adventure in the Chinese countryside follows.

Finally, Odessa Young (“Assassination Nation,” “Shirley) and Ella Rumpf (“Raw,” “Tiger Girl”) are the latest actors to join the forthcoming “Tokyo Vice” drama as series regulars. The series is based on Jake Adelstein’s book, a real-life account of covering the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat. Ansel Elgort (“Baby Driver,” “The Divergent Series”) plays Adelstein, an American journalist who embeds himself in the vice squad to reveal corruption.

HBO Max previously announced feature film “Rose & Thorn,” is on the horizon. Other DC titles slated to appear on HBO Max are a Green Lantern and a “Strange Adventures” TV series.

HBO Max debuts in May at $14.99 per month. HBO Now subscribers get upgraded to Max free.