British mystery drama Agatha Raisin has been given an 11th-hour lifeline from the US-based streaming platform Acorn, which specialises in marketing UK content to an American audience. The series, based on the M.C. Beaton novels of the same name, starred Ashley Jensen as a London PR who retires to a quiet life in the country only to become a local sleuth when the little town of Carsley finds itself having a Midsomer moment. The UK broadcaster Sky aired a telemovie and a single season of the show but declined to renew it for a second. Acorn has now stepped in, agreeing to commission a second series of the show. The new season will air later in 2018.
More of the dreadful?
America's Lifetime channel, in a move that seems to give greater definition to The Simpsons' parody that once billed it as "television for idiots", has commissioned a telemovie on the royal romance of Prince Harry and the American actress Meghan Markle. The telemovie follows a long line of awful telemovies for Lifetime, but in particular the dreadful William & Kate, about the royal romance of Harry's elder brother William and Kate Middleton. (Hallmark also churned out one titled William & Catherine: A Royal Romance.) No word on whether Kiwi actor Nico Evers-Swindell will reprise the role of William in the new movie. No air date has been set.
New territory for Handmaid
The new US "midseason" was on show last week at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles, a two-week long parade of new programs and Q&A panels. Among the highlights was Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, based on the 1985 novel of the same name and the current darling of the awards circuit. The second season will kick off in April in the US - and in Australia on SBS, according to informed chatter - and will pick up where season one left off, with Offred (Elisabeth Moss) bundled into a van bound for the unknown. The second season takes the story beyond author Margaret Atwood's book and it's so far, so good. Atwood sent the producers a note saying the scripts were "better than anything I could possibly have ever imagined".
West Wing reading
The cast of The West Wing will reunite at a special event in Los Angeles where they will perform a stage reading of the Oscar-winning screenplay of All The President's Men later this month. The cast members appearing in the stage reading include Bradley Whitford, Joshua Malina, Ed Begley Jnr, Richard Schiff and Jeff Perry. The stage reading is being held to raise money for the Society of Professional Journalists. The 1976 film - which took home four Academy Awards - is the story of The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, whose work led to the Watergate scandal.
Apple has commissioned its first half-hour comedy, an as yet untitled series from Reese Witherspoon's production company Hello Sunshine. The series, which will star Saturday Night Live star Kristen Wiig, is based on Curtis Sittenfeld's upcoming short-story collection You Think It, I'll Say It. According to reports Wiig will star and also serve as a co-executive producer on the project. Apple has also commissioned an untitled morning TV drama with Jennifer Aniston and an Octavia Spencer series Are You Sleeping (both from Witherspoon's company) and the dramas See, from Ron Moore, and Amazing Stories, from Steven Spielberg.