TV briefs: Atlanta native Darby Walker on ‘The Voice,’ ‘Stranger Things’ ratings, ‘Daytime Divas’

THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" -- Pictured: Darby Walker -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

THE VOICE — “Blind Auditions” — Pictured: Darby Walker — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, August 30, 2016

‘The Voice” aired a post-Olympics preview show last week while I was on vacation and featured two contestants, both quite good.

One was Atlanta native Darby Walker, who has done some acting work as well in Los Angeles. She moved to Hollywood eight years ago. The 17 year old sang the Florence & the Machine cover of “Stand By Me,” doing a very good impression of lead singer Florence Welch.

At the 32-second mark, new judge Miley Cyrus pressed her button. At the 1:04 point, fellow new judge Alicia Keys joined her. Blake Shelton turned around at the very end. Adam Levine held back.

Walker and Cyrus bonded immediately over the fact both were wearing flowers. “I want you on my team so bad,” Cyrus said. “I feel like our voices have a similar vibe, that shaky vibrato. We probably have a similar style of music.”

Walker is into indie rock but had no problem doing an impromptu duet of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” with Cyrus.

Although Shelton and Keys tried their best pitches, it was not surprising Walker picked Cyrus as her coach. Keys made a good run for it since Walker said Keys’ song “No One” was her jam when she was ten. Keys, after Cyrus, began singing “No One” together with Walker. If Cyrus cuts her at some point in a later round, I’m sure Keys would pick her up if she is able to.

The show’s 11th season begins officially on September 19. I was not able to procure an interview with Walker. NBC is choosing to hold off until her audition airs again during the regular season.

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Stranger Things

“Stranger Things” is a Netflix winner. CREDIT: Netflix

Netflix steadfastly refuses to reveal how many people watch its programs. Why should they? They don’t need to! They have zero advertisers to please.

But according to compiled by Symphony Advanced Media and provided to Variety magazine, its hot summer drama “Stranger Things” is among its most popular shows among the 18 to 49 demographic over the past year.

Its first season brought in 14.08 million viewers over its first 35 days in that key demo. Only “Fuller House” and season four of “Orange is the New Black” did better. And it performed better than “Making a Murderer,” “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Surprisingly, the fourth season of “House of Cards” did worse than the first season of critically panned comedy “The Ranch” in that 18-49 demo. (I suspect “House of Cards” skews older.)

The magazine did not provide numbers for all viewers. (Symphony measured viewers using a sample of 15,000 households.)

Although Netflix has not officially renewed “Stranger Things” for a second season, it’s a foregone conclusion, as I noted earlier this month. The show is shot in metro Atlanta, much of it at EUE Screen Gems and Jackson.

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 24: Actress Tichina Arnold attends the Television Academy's Performers Peer Group Hold Cocktail Reception to Celebrate the 67th Emmy Awards at the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel on August 24, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – AUGUST 24: Actress Tichina Arnold attends the Television Academy’s Performers Peer Group Hold Cocktail Reception to Celebrate the 67th Emmy Awards at the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel on August 24, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The Atlanta-based production of VH1’s “Daytime Divas” has booked Tichina Arnold as one of the cast members of a fake daytime talk show which is sort of like “The View.”

Star Jones wrote a best-selling 2011 fictional book called “Satan’s Sisters” on the same subject and is executive producing this drama. The show name was changed probably to sound a little less harsh.

Arnold was able to join the cast presumably because the show does not interfere with her time with Starz’ “Survivor’s Remorse,” where she plays Cam Calloway’s protective mom. It can’t hurt that both shows are shot in Atlanta.

Vanessa Williams was one of the originally named cast members playing Maxine. The other three women on the fictional talk show are Chloe Bridges as Kibby, Camille Guaty as Nina, and Fiona Gubelmann as Heather. Maxine’s son will be played by “Hit the Floor” star McKinley Freeman. 

Production has begun locally and the show is scheduled to air in early 2017.

 

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