The Latest: Cumberbatch riffs on 'stable genius' tweet

Stephen Colbert, executive producer of the Showtime animated series "Our Cartoon President," takes part in a panel discussion on the show at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

When a producer mentioned a Twitter post from Benedict Cumberbatch led to a TV role, the actor couldn't resist riffing on President Donald Trump's "stable genius" tweet

PASADENA, Calif. — The Latest from the TV Critics meeting in Pasadena, California (all times local):

6:00 p.m.

When a producer mentioned a Twitter post from Benedict Cumberbatch led to a TV role, the actor couldn't resist riffing on President Donald Trump's "stable genius" tweet.

Michael Jackson, executive producer of Showtime's new "Patrick Melrose" series, told TV critics Saturday that he learned from Twitter that Cumberbatch longed to play the title role.

Cumberbatch, participating in the news conference by satellite, asked if he'd called himself a "stable genius" in the tweet.

"Good things can come from Twitter," but so do world wars, Cumberbatch said. At least, the actor added sardonically, he got a part because of the social media site.

Cumberbatch said he considers Edward St. Aubyn, whose Patrick Melrose novels were adapted for Showtime's series, perhaps the greatest prose stylist working in the English language.

The five-part series will debut this year, with a date yet to be announced.


4 p.m.

Stephen Colbert clearly isn't worried about television audiences getting Trump fatigue.

"He is president of the United States," he said on Saturday. "There is no escaping it. It's like having oxygen fatigue."

Colbert has vaulted to the top of the late-night ratings with sharp, topical humor focused on the president. Now he's a producer behind an animated Showtime series, "Our Cartoon President," that debuts later this month.

Showtime will stream an episode that features the cartoon Trump preparing to deliver his State of the Union address on Jan. 28. The 10-episode series debuts on the television network on Feb. 11.


3:25 p.m.

Showtime programming executive Gary Levine says if David Lynch is willing to tackle another season of "Twin Peaks," the channel is willing to listen.

But given the "Herculean" effort that Lynch put into reviving the cult drama last year, including directing all 18 episodes, Levine said he's unsure Lynch wants to do it again.

The original "Twin Peaks," starring Kyle MacLachlan as a FBI agent investigating a murder in an offbeat town, aired in 1990-91 on ABC. It picked up 25 years later in the lives of the characters in its return on Showtime.

Levine told TV critics Saturday the door at Showtime is always open to Lynch or his fellow "Twin Peaks" creator Mark Frost to discuss the show or any other project they have in mind.


2:45 p.m.

Television viewers will soon get an inside look at what President Donald Trump likes to call the "failing" New York Times.

Showtime announced Saturday that filmmaker Liz Garbus is producing a four-part documentary series on the Times, "The Fourth Estate," that will debut in May.

Documentary-makers were given access to meetings and discussions at the Times as it shaped coverage of the Trump administration. A clip on Saturday showed the newsroom reacting to Trump's inaugural address.

Besides giving a view of how the newspaper covers the president, "The Fourth Estate" will also show the Times in a period of transition. In a generational change for the family-controlled business, 37-year-old A.G. Sulzberger has taken over as the Times' new publisher.


11:50 a.m.

The producers of the new CBS comedy "Living Biblically" say their goal is to appeal to both believers and non-believers.

Inspired by A.J. Jacobs' book "The Year of Living Biblically," the series stars Jay R. Ferguson as a modern New Yorker who decides to strictly follow the Bible in his daily life. He's guided by a priest and a rabbi.

Executive producer Patrick Walsh told TV critics Saturday that the show aims to "loosen up the conversation" about religion in a funny, respectful way.

Among the show's producers is Johnny Galecki, who stars on "The Big Bang Theory." Galecki said that presumptions that "The Year of Living Biblically" will be sarcastic about religion are wrong.

The hope is that viewers will find the comedy to be a "cool take" on religion, which is what a lot of people base their lives on, Galecki said.

The show, which also stars Lindsey Kraft, Ian Gomez, David Krumholtz, Tony Rock and Camryn Manehim, debuts Feb. 26.


11:03 a.m.

Actor Alan Cumming will portray what is believed to be the first gay lead character in a broadcast network drama and he says it's particularly important that the milestone is happening during President Donald Trump's administration.

His crime procedural "Instinct" arrives at a time when Cumming said "the president is actively condoning, by his silence, violence and persecution against the LBGT community."

The show premieres on CBS March 11. Cumming plays an author who is an expert on serial killers who gets drawn into helping New York police track down a killer who models his behavior on one of his books.

Cumming says it's a perfect time to have a married same-sex couple portrayed on network TV.


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