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‘Pump Rules’ Star Katie Maloney Reveals How Kristen & Stassi’s Firings Brought Them All ‘Back Together’ After Feud

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Katie Maloney EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife how she, Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute put their ‘differences aside’ and moved past old ‘drama’ in the wake of the ‘Vanderpump Rules’ firings.

Amid everything that has happened throughout 2020, Katie Maloney especially didn’t see one thing “coming”: the Witches of WeHo reuniting. This was what Katie and her co-stars Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute infamously referred to themselves as, until Kristen had a falling out with Katie and Stassi in Season 8 of Vanderpump Rules. That all changed, however, when Bravo fired Stassi and Kristen in June after it had come to the public’s attention that they reported their co-star, Faith Stowers, to the police for a crime she did not commit in 2018. After the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum this summer, Faith had expressed her hurt over the situation, which sparked public criticism of Stassi and Kristen (they have since apologized). While appearing on the Aug. 17 episode of HollywoodLife TVTalk, Katie EXCLUSIVELY told us how the incident ended their feud.

Kristen Doute
Kristen Doute (pictured above) fell out with her former Vanderpump Rules co-stars, Katie Maloney and Stassi Schroeder, in 2019. (BRAVO)

“It was just when Kristen and Stassi got fired or they announced that they wouldn’t be coming back to the show, we just put our differences aside and just came back together just to support,” Katie revealed. “We’ve been like sisters for a long time and when one of us is going to go through something like that, it doesn’t matter where we are at, we’re going to drop what we’re doing to be together and be there for one another. That was the moment, I guess, that brought us back together.”

Stassi Schroeder
Stassi Schroeder (pictured above) remained friends with Katie Maloney, and has recently reunited with Kristen Doute after their falling out in 2019. (BRAVO)

The reunion was organic, since Katie added that she immediately decided she was “coming over” on the very same day it was announced that Kristen and Stassi were let go from the show. However, Katie admitted she “definitely didn’t see that coming” — AKA, their surprise reunion — and it was also shocking for fans to see Katie and Stassi reunite with their former frenemy, Kristen, for a lunch date at The Grove in Los Angeles on July 8.

On Season 8 of Vanderpump Rules, Kristen faced friction in her friendships with Katie and Stassi as they grew increasingly frustrated with Kristen’s ongoing drama with her ex, Brian Carter. “When they got fired, it was like all of our drama that we had and last summer and Carter this and Carter that, it just all seemed so petty,” Katie explained. “I just was more focused on wanting to be there to support my friend emotionally or physically or whatever it may be because I think we were all very shocked by what had happened.”

Stassi Schroeder issued a public apology (as did Kristen Doute) in the wake of her firing.

However, they aren’t all exactly BFFs again. “It’s been a slow rekindling,” Katie clarified. “Slowly we’ve been spending more time together.” So, Katie couldn’t say for sure if the “Witches of WeHo” are back — “we haven’t put any labels on it,” she told us. This isn’t the first rough patch their friendship has gone through, however.

“We’ve been through it before,” Katie added. “We had the falling out and we got back together as friends and we’ve been down this road before and I don’t want to continue it, but I think just kind of understanding that life is bigger than the small things and that you need to just find forgiveness in your heart and put your differences aside, I guess. I’ll definitely talk more about it and I’d definitely like to talk with her about it, but we’ll see. So we’ll see!”

Katie Maloney, Stassi Schroeder
Katie Maloney is pictured mid-conversation with her former co-star, Stassi Schroeder, on Vanderpump Rules. (NBC)

While Kristen and Stassi have left the show (in addition to Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni, after their old racist tweets resurfaced), Katie is still patiently waiting to film Season 9 of Vanderpump Rules. Meanwhile, she has a new passion project to keep her busy: You’re Gonna Love Me, a podcast that she launched on DearMedia on Aug. 14! Katie revealed how this podcast came about during our interview as well.

“I’ve been working on this since last fall,” Katie said. “I wanted to launch it in the spring, but when COVID started going crazy and we were all quarantined it kind of pushed everything back. But I had been flirting with the idea of doing a podcast for a long time.”

“I love podcasts, my friends have podcasts but I wanted to just kind of take my own experience in life and being on the show and just put out there and all of the intimate moments with that for millions of people,” Katie continued. “People definitely think they know who I am but I just get put in the boxes of being a mean girl or a bitch or a bully which I can see because I watch the show. I know how I can be sometimes, but there’s so much more to me than just that.” And she’s of course bringing her Vanderpump Rules family into this new venture! James Kennedy appeared on the podcast’s second episode, and she also plans to invite Tom Schwartz, Lala Kent and Dayna Kathan.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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