ABC News is replacing the anchor on its late-night newsmagazine “Nightline.” Deadline.com reports that the network is moving “Good Morning America” contributor Dan Abrams into the post.
Abrams was also named chief legal affairs anchor for the news division.
“He will continue his regular legal segments on ‘GMA,’ will launch a new branded ‘GMA’ segment ‘on a wide range of topics,’ and join the other ‘Nightline’ anchors on ABC’s ‘The Lookout,’” the report adds.
“Nightline” anchor Terry Moran will relocate to London this summer, and will be based there as chief foreign correspondent for the news division.
“Moran’s departure comes as ‘Nightline,’ now airing at 12:35 a.m., draws less than half its previous audience at 11:35 p.m.,” the report notes. “Moran joined ‘Nightline’ after a 1999-2005 stint as a White House correspondent for ABC News, where he has been since 1997.”
Dan Abramsmore »
A country singer who sold millions of records and found international success over the course of a long career died today of heart failure at a Florida hospital. The family of Slim Whitman, 90, announced the singer’s death, Billboard reports.
“With millions of records sold, Whitman's keen ability at yodeling and his high octave falsetto kept fans entertained for years,” the story reports. “Born in Tampa, Florida, Whitman grew up enamored with the music of the ‘Singing Brakeman,’ Jimmie Rodgers. However, it wasn't until his stint in the United States Navy came to an end following the end of World War II that he decided to pursue music as a profession.”
He came to the attention of Tom Parker, the man who would later manage Elvis Presley, and Parker got Whitman a recording contract with RCA Victor. Whitman released his first single in 1948, and went on to make a mark with signature songs such as "Indian Love Call" and "Rose Marie," which became a huge hit in England in 1955, spending 11 weeks at No. 1 on the charts.
Whitman also found success with the singles "The Bells That Broke My Heart," "More Than Yesterday" and "Something To Remember," which went to No. 6 in 1971.
“Though he was well known in the United States, Whitman's star shone even brighter abroad, as he was one of the most successful country acts in the UK, earning several hits there when his career had slowed in America,” the piece reports. “In 1979, Whitman became involved in what was a new concept -- the mail-order TV album. His first, ‘All My Best,’ was a success -- selling over 1.5 million units, and led to several other releases in the 1980s. He returned to the Billboard Top 20 in 1980 with ‘When,’ and earned his first appearance on Johnny Carson's ‘Tonight Show.’"
Here’s a short clip featuring an unusual use of Whitman’s “Indian Love Call” in the movie “Mars Attacks!” (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the movie):more »
A celebrity cooking show host and her team are doing damage control after a revelation in a deposition for a court case. Asked under oath whether she has ever used the N-word, Paula Deen responded, “Yes, of course,” TMZ.com reports.
“Deen was being deposed in connection with a pending sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee who claims she was subjected to a barrage of racist, sexist and generally inappropriate comments while she worked at Paula's Oyster House restaurant in Georgia,” the story reports.
A representative for Deen, who has a long relationship with Food Network and has hosted “Paula’s Home Cooking,” “Paula’s Best Dishes” and other shows, followed the revelation with a statement to TMZ saying: "Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court.”
The TMZ report focuses in particular on one exchange from the taped deposition, including the following series of questions and answers:
“Lawyer: Have you ever used the N-word yourself?
“Paula: Yes, of course.
“Lawyer: Okay. In what context?
“Paula: Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.
“Lawyer: Okay. And what did you say?
“Paula: Well, I don't remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple ... I didn't -- I didn't feel real favorable towards him.
“Lawyer: Okay. Well, did you use the N-word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face?
“Paula: Absolutely not.
“Lawyer: Well, then, when did you use it?
“Paula: Probably in telling my husband.
“Lawyer: Okay. Have you used it since then?
“Paula: I'm sure I have, but it's been a very long time.”
The report notes that Deen was held at gunpoint during a 1986 bank robbery.
Later in the exchange, Deen adds: “That's just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the '60s in the South. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do.”
Deen had not commented for the report.
Paula Deenmore »
Tuesday night was a win-win for ABC as the network claimed another ratings victory with its coverage of the NBA Finals and the Miami Heat came back to beat the San Antonio Spurs in overtime, ensuring that ABC would get a seventh and deciding game.
Citing Nielsen overnight figures for the key 18-49 demo, TVbytheNumbers.com reports that game six of the championship series scored a 6.5 average rating. “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night” averaged a 2.6 while “NBA Countdown” drew a 3.8. The report notes that the figures are subject to more than the usual adjustments due to the nature of live programming.
The only other broadcast network to put up much of a fight was NBC, which came in a solid second on the strength of its talent competitions. “America’s Got Talent” slipped just one-tenth of a point from last week in viewers 18-49, delivering a 2.9 average, while the two-hour results finale of “The Voice” slipped one-tenth from the finale last spring to a 4.3.
CBS aired an all-repeat lineup of “NCIS” (1.1 average in 18-49), “NCIS: Los Angeles” (0.8) and “Person of Interest” (0.9), while Fox saw a fresh two-hour installment of “So You Think You Can Dance” lose ground, dipping three-tenths from a week ago to a 1.4.
ABC led the way for prime time overall in the 18-49 demo, averaging a 5.4 rating to NBC’s 3.8, Univision’s 1.5, Fox’s 1.4 and CBS’s 0.9. NBC came out on top in total viewers, averaging 14.0 million to 13.7 million for ABC, 6.4 million for CBS, 3.9 million for Fox and 3.7 million for Univision.more »
A contributor who has been a familiar face on Fox News has been fired. Deadline.com reports that investment manager and author Tobin Smith, a regular panel member on Fox News’ "Bulls & Bears" and a contributor to both Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, was let go over "sponsored investment research" after he sent out an email and ad flier touting Petrosonic Energy.
While the campaign included a disclaimer that it was paid advertising and Smith didn't mention Petrosonic on air, the promotion became an issue because his NBT Equities Research reportedly banked $50,000 for the campaign.
"Some investors who bought into the company based on Smith’s recommendation contacted [The Wall Street Journal's] Market Watch blog, apparently not having read the disclaimer. Market Watch alerted its News Corp. sibling Fox News and was told that was the first it had heard of the matter," the story notes.
Fox Business Network has a rule that contributors aren't allowed "to accept financial consideration of any kind whatsoever to issue research, advertisements, or to otherwise promote individual stocks or securities,” the report notes.more »
The producer of the FX comedy series "Anger Management" revealed that Selma Blair is leaving the show, with the news coming after star Charlie Sheen started a campaign to get her fired, Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com. Producer Lionsgate confirmed that Blair is off the show, the story reports.
The move comes after Blair questioned Sheen’s work ethic, as previously reported. Ugly details about Sheen's treatment of Blair emerged in the aftermath.
"I hear Charlie Sheen 'fired' her via text, in which he called the actress a 'c--t,'” Andreeva writes. “And it was not the only abusive, expletives-filled text she had received from Sheen, who also serves as an executive producer on 'Anger Management.'"
Andreeva adds: "I also hear that Blair was not the only member of the show's cast and crew that was frustrated by Sheen’s work habits as I hear they would often sit and wait for hours for him to show up for work. Although it was Blair voicing her concerns that got Sheen to flip out and get her sacked."
Her role won't be recast, the story notes. It's likely that the producers will use her departure as a launch pad for another creative makeover, given the show's sagging ratings. The program will stay in production as it retools.
"As for Blair, word is that she is being paid per her contract and no legal action is in the cards, at least not for now," Andreeva notes.
An actress known for her work in the "Lord of the Rings" movies and a string of indie films has been cast in her first television role, reports Deadline.com.
Liv Tyler joins "The Leftovers," an HBO drama pilot from "Lost" co-creator Damon Lindelof based on Tom Perrotta's book. The project tells the story of the people who didn't make the cut following the Rapture.
Tyler, the daughter of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, will play Meg, a woman who is about to get married but ends up targeted by a cult for recruitment.
Tyler’s career has been focused on the big screen, with roles in “Stealing Beauty,” “Inventing the Abbotts” and “Cookie’s Fortune," among many other feature films.
NBC is working with a four-time Emmy-winning actress on a documentary about her terminal brain cancer, reports the New York Post.
Valerie Harper, 73, was diagnosed in March, with doctors giving her as little as three months to live. Since then, she has given NBC full access to her life, taping her and her husband, Tony Cacciotti, and their daughter, Cristina.
While the program doesn't yet have a scheduled air date, it will be shown in prime time.
Harper won four Emmys in the 1970s -- three for "Mary Tyler Moore" and one for "Rhoda."more »
Actress Betty White penned a handwritten letter to the Internet, which surfaced on the Facebook page for her TV Land show “Hot in Cleveland,” EW.com’s Inside TV reports. The purpose of the letter is to ask fans of the show to tune in to tonight’s live season-five premiere of the show.
The letter, posted Tuesday, is written in cursive and is addressed, "Dear Internet,” the piece reports. The note, the story says, "is basically perfect."
She writes, "Who knew at 91 that I would be blessed to work on yet another wonderful and fun sitcom! And boy, do I have a blast. Where else could I get to be a bride, a jailbird, a college freshman, and a fugitive in Amish Country?”
In a P.S., she adds, "Spread the word! Hot in Cleveland LIVE (and blooper free!) tomorrow night at 10/9 C." She ends the note with a heart, and signs her name with "XOXO."
Here it is:more »
"Breaking Bad" star and perennial Emmy winner Bryan Cranston disclosed what his plans are following the AMC drama’s final season, which begins in August, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Cranston, who won three consecutive Emmys for outstanding lead actor from 2008-2010 for his work on “Breaking Bad,” said he plans to record a Samuel L. Jackson monologue for charity -- turning the tables on Jackson, who recently recorded one of Cranston's most memorable "Breaking Bad" monologues to raise money for charity. The speech was a scene from the fourth season in which Cranston’s character, Walter, tells his wife, "I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. … I am the one who knocks!”
“I did see Sammy's monologue, and I'm going to be making one of my own from one of his monologues at some point to help with Alzheimer's research and finding the cure,” Cranston wrote. “I sympathize with him because my mother also had Alzheimer's. It's a horrible disease, but he found a very interesting way to bring attention to it.”
Cranston’s comments appear on a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” post. The actor also noted that he's sad to say goodbye to "Breaking Bad." "To me it's like retiring after winning the Super Bowl,” he wrote.
He also talked about making the switch from his comedic role on "Malcolm in the Middle" to the darkness in "Breaking Bad."
“What I discovered is that everyone has a dark side. It might be unrealized, untapped, but if the right buttons are pushed anyone can become dangerous and I just opened up to it,” he wrote.
Bryan Cranstonmore »