Programming

Tig Tackles Robert E. Lee, Seth Sets Out for Space

Notaro's 'One Mississippi' returns to Amazon Sept. 8; MacFarlane's 'The Orville' premieres on Fox Sept. 10 9/04/2017 8:00 AM Eastern
Amazon's "One Mississippi," starring Tig Notaro (c.), takes on Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy in its second season.
TakeAway

"The Watchman," from MCN's Through the Wire, 9-4-2017

The new season of One Mississippi arrives on Amazon this Friday (Sept. 8). The writing started on Jan. 17, with President Donald Trump’s inauguration just three days away. The timing affected the writers’ room.

“We really focus on a lot of current events,” star Tig Notaro said. “Everybody was very fueled with ideas and feelings.”

Robert E. Lee, a key figure in the Charlottesville culture wars, gets a fortuitous mention. One Mississippi depicts that state celebrating Lee’s accomplishments on Martin Luther King Day.

Notaro called it “a huge relief” not having to deal with ratings in the streaming world. “It means we get to make the show we want to make,” she said.

One Mississippi may run for five or six seasons, she hopes. “As far as I’m concerned, it could go on and on. But who knows — maybe they kick us out after season two?”

Related: Watch the "One Mississippi" Trailer

Sept. 8 is also the launch date for Third Rail With Ozy, a lively PBS debate program. Guests include Katie Couric, Mark Cuban and Malcolm Gladwell. The host is Carlos Watson, creator of journalism site Ozy.com. Watson said the timing of its premiere is perfect. “People are hungry to have this kind of forum to participate in this kind of conversation,” he said.

Denise Dilanni, show creator and WGBH senior executive, said Third Rail offers some of the late-night vibe seen on Full Frontal With Samantha Bee and Real Time With Bill Maher. “It’s unplugged and electrifying,” Dilanni said.

Watson promises the debates will run hot. “We’re gonna grab a hold of the third rail,” he said, “and see what happens.”

Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville is ready to light up on Fox Sept. 10. The oddball space romp sees MacFarlane as a down-on-his-luck spaceship captain who leads a crew on a vessel known as The Orville.

Where did the name come from? MacFarlane was reading David McCullough’s book on the Wright brothers, aptly named The Wright Brothers. “It felt like they were down on Orville, that Wilbur was doing most of the work. I felt like we should be The Orville then.”

Not everyone at Fox dug the name, but according to MacFarlane “everyone recognized the oddness of it. It put the show in a space from the get-go that said to the audience, ‘This is a little offbeat.’ ”

The programming polymath has a unique way of calibrating a new sci-fi property. “If I was a kid, would I want this as a toy?” MacFarlane said. “If I was 12, would I want this in my room?”

Viewers will decide if they want The Orville in their room.

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