November 2012

NBC Abandons Thursday 'Rock Center' Experiment, Juggles Schedule

NBC announced a number of scheduling moves as it scrambles to resuscitate its Thursday night lineup, which has been getting battered in the ratings.

“NBC‘s experiment with a newsmagazine in the iconic Thursday 10 p.m. time slot is over,” Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com. “The network just announced that midseason drama ‘Do No Harm’ will move into the time period on January 31, following the hourlong series finale of ‘30 Rock,’ which will air the same night from 8-9 p.m., ‘The Office’ and newbie ‘1600 Penn.’”

“Rock Center with Brian Williams,” which has delivered consistently wimpy ratings, moves to Friday night starting Feb. 8. It will air in the traditional newsmag slot at 10 p.m., with “Dateline” moving to 9 p.m.

“’Dateline’ will take over ‘Grimm‘s’ slot while the supernatural drama is on a hiatus,” Andreeva writes. “When ‘Grimm’ returns to its 9 p.m. berth March 8, I hear ‘Dateline’ will either get off Fridays (by then the Sunday edition will already have launched post-football), or replace ‘Rock Center’ if the show does not get any traction on its new night.”

Said NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt: “Jan. 31 will be a special night as one classic series will mark its finale with a great hour-long sendoff episode while a promising new drama will make its debut on Thursdays.”

Andreeva notes: “’Do No Harm’ faces long odds as NBC’s Thursday lineup is a far cry from the glory days of Must See TV. Both new drama series the network launched in the time period last season, ‘Prime Suspect’ and ‘Awake,’ fizzled.”

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Two NBC Shows Sink to Historic Ratings Lows

Two NBC series hit all-time lows as the network sank to a distant fifth place among the broadcast networks for prime time overall Thursday night, based on Nielsen overnight figures.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that “The Office” and “Parks & Recreation” both dipped to series lows in the key 18-49 demo. “The Office” turned in a 1.9 average rating, down 10% from its previous airing Nov. 15, and “Parks” slipped to a 1.4, down 18%.

NBC’s “Up All Night” was also down -- off 8% from Nov. 15 to a 1.2 in adults 18-49 -- and “Rock Center” was down 18% to a 0.9. Bucking the trend was “30 Rock,” which managed to climb 8% to a 1.3.

At the other end of the ratings spectrum, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” was the top show of the night, with a 5.4 average in 18-49 -- but that was down 5% from two weeks ago. “Two and a Half Men” held steady with a 4.1, while “Person of Interest” dipped 6% to a 2.9. “Elementary” tied its series low with a 2.2, down 4%.

CBS won the night handily with a 3.3 average for prime time overall in adults 18-49, ahead of Fox (2.5 average), ABC (2.1), Univision (1.7) and NBC (1.2). CBS distanced itself further from the pack in total viewers, averaging 13.4 million to 7.0 million for Fox, 6.9 million for ABC, 4.0 million for Univision and 3.4 million for NBC.

Fox was paced by “The X Factor,” which slipped 4% from last week to a 2.7, while “Glee” delivered a 2.2, surging 47% from its Thanksgiving broadcast.

ABC had a weak turnout for “Last Resort,” in its first broadcast since its cancellation. The show sank to a series-low 1.0 average rating in the 18-49 demo, while “Grey’s Anatomy” tied its season low with a 3.0, down 6% from two weeks ago. “Scandal” went the other direction, climbing 10% to deliver a season-high 2.2.

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Video: TV News Team Falls Victim to Fake Plane Crash

The news team at Tribune station WGN-TV in Chicago was caught this morning by what turned out to be a fake plane crash being staged for a TV show. WGN posted video of its report on the incident, which can be seen below.

The station later reported that the crash scene was staged for the TV show “Chicago Fire.” Shortly after 8 a.m. reports began coming in from commuters who thought the incident near the busy intersection of 29th and King Drive was a real plane crash.

Here’s the clip of how it went down during the live report:

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Date Set for Broadcast of the 65th Primetime Emmys

CBS has set the date for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast, with the program set to air from L.A. Live's Nokia Theatre Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Nominations will be announced July 18. The 2012 Emmy Awards, broadcast on ABC and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, averaged 13.3 million viewers.

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Popular Telenovela Gets English-Language Adaptation by Fox

Fox is adapting a popular telenovela for English-speaking audiences, putting in development an hourlong series based on the 2004 show "Rubí,” reports Deadline.com.

The project focuses a beautiful but penniless woman who wants to become rich, even if it means giving up the love of her life, the story notes. Written by Lisa Loomer, the project is executive produced by Loomer and Michael Garcia, with 20th Century Fox TV and Televisa producing.

When it aired in the U.S. on Univision, the show's two-hour finale drew almost 8 million viewers, the piece notes.

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Want to Know How Chevy Chase Will Be Written Out of 'Community'?

The abrupt decision to dump Chevy Chase from NBC's "Community" will not cause disruption in the writers room, reports TVLine.com. It turns out that the show had already filmed a season finale in which the fate of several characters is up in the air.

Chase Hawthorne, Chevy Chase's role, is one of the characters included in a cliffhanger ending. Presumably, Hawthorne will not make it back for any future seasons of "Community," should there be any more.

According to the website's source, the cliffhanger episode "wasn't intended to set up his [Chevy's] departure. It just worked out that way."

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Plot Thickens in Angus T. Jones Meltdown: Report Explores Role LSD May Have Played

There may be more to Angus T. Jones' YouTube video meltdown than religious conversion, according to a report by Newsweek’s Daily Beast.

The controversial video focused on the young “Two and a Half Men” star -- which you can see by clicking here -- delves into Jones’ interest in the Seventh-Day Adventist ministry ForeRunner Chronicles and presents him as an acolyte of the group’s unconventional pastor, Christopher Hudson.

But it also contains the “interesting tidbit” that Jones “began experimenting with LSD prior to stumbling across the radical organization’s videos online,” the piece reports.

“The summer of senior year, I started doing acid,” the report quotes Jones as saying. “This drug could change the world ... if this was legal, everyone would be different.”

The story reports: “Jones’ comments about the transformative powers of the drug echo those famously made by Apple founder Steve Jobs in the 2005 book ‘What the Doormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer.’

“’Doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life,’ said Jobs, further alleging that Microsoft’s Bill Gates would ‘be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once.’”

The article notes that Jones’ use of acid appears to differ from Jobs’ case in that it was more than mere experimentation. “His parents had recently split and Jones describes in the video being haunted by feelings of inauthenticity; that he had, in essence, become a materialistic windbag who purchased fancy cars and dated girls, but felt empty inside,” the piece reports.

The story also examines Hudson, the pastor, noting that he “delivers bizarre sermons online. Some of Hudson’s greatest hits: accusing rapper Jay-Z of being a devil-worshipping Freemason; denouncing Oprah Winfrey as a disciple of Satan; declaring masturbation a sin; and calling superstorm Sandy a harbinger of a food-shortage crisis and cannibalism.”

Jones tells Hudson in the video: “Your videos have no doubt been a blessing to me,” and adds, “I don’t want to be contributing to the enemy’s plan … You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like [‘Two and a Half Men’]. I know I can’t. I’m not OK with what I’m learning, what the Bible says, and being on that television show.”

Jones, whose salary for “Men” is reported to be $350,000 per episode, has apologized for his comments on the YouTube video.

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MTV Reveals Replacement for 'Jersey Shore'

MTV announced that it will replace "Jersey Shore" with a new reality show, reports EW.com's Inside TV. The new series, called "Buckwild," features a group of nine young friends in West Virginia doing "Jackass"-style stunts.

The friends live by their motto, "Whatever happens, happens" -- including activities such as drinking, fighting with neighbors, driving ATVs and riding down hills inside giant tires, the story notes.

The show debuts Jan. 3 at 10 p.m., in "Jersey Shore’s” time period, with MTV airing two half-hour episodes back-to-back each week for six weeks.

Here’s a preview:

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New CNN Boss Jeff Zucker Hints at What He Has in Mind for the Cable News Channel

Jeff Zucker, the newly named CNN Worldwide president, told reporters on a conference call that he wants to make the cable news channel "relevant, vibrant and exciting," while hinting that he wants to broaden its programming, reports Joe Flint in the Los Angeles Times' Company Town blog.

"News is not just about politics and war," he said. "The definition of news is broader than perhaps has been historically thought about here."

Zucker, who is a former executive producer of NBC's morning program "Today," comes to CNN after several missteps. While serving as chief executive at NBCUniversal, NBC's prime-time ratings tumbled, and the network stumbled further when it moved Jay Leno from late night to prime time. He left the company after Comcast took a majority stake in NBCUniversal.

On the conference call, Zucker said his comfort zone remains daily journalism. "There is no doubt I made mistakes in the entertainment world, and I own those," he said.

TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross has his own ideas about how Zucker might be able to fix CNN. Click here to read his suggestions.

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Coroner Releases Explanation for Death of Johnny Lewis, 'Sons of Anarchy' Star Who Killed His Landlady

Johnny Lewis, the former "Sons of Anarchy" star who died in September after allegedly killing his landlady, died accidentally after stumbling while jumping from a terrace in an effort to leave the scene, reports TheWrap.com, citing a report from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

"It appears that the decedent jumped over a wrought iron railing at the top of the terrace to drop to the driveway below during his attempt to flee the location," the report says. "During this jump the decedent lost his balance and landed on the concrete driveway head first."

The distance from the terrace to the driveway is 15 feet, according to the report. It added that it was unlikely that Lewis intentionally jumped to his death.

"Decedent died of a fall. We do not have definitive evidence that the decedent intended to kill himself," the report noted. "We also do not at this time have any evidence that he was pushed. Therefore, the manner of death is accidental."

As previously reported, Lewis was found dead after allegedly killing his 81-year-old landlady in a gruesome incident in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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Batmobile From 1960s 'Batman' TV Series Going up for Sale

The iconic car driven by Adam West in the 1960s television series "Batman" is going up for auction in January, reports TheWrap.com.

While a spokeswoman for the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Scottsdale, Ariz. wouldn't tell what the minimum asking price is, it's expected that the winning bid for the Batmobile will be in the millions, the story notes.

The car was stored for years by George Barris, a car customizer who turned a 19-foot-long 1955 Lincoln Futura into the Batmobile, the story notes.

"The Batmobile is true Americana and it’s hard to put a dollar figure on something like that,” said Craig Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “The difference is that this is the real deal, the original and the only one to have been on the Batman series -- it’s been in George Barris’ garage for all these years and that is invaluable. We expect plenty of enthusiasts and fans to come out and wouldn’t be surprised if the car sold for multiple millions.”

Barris originally bought the car for one dollar, with 20th Century Fox giving him $15,000 to turn it into the Batmobile. It's still drivable, the piece adds.

The auction is scheduled for Jan. 19.

batmobile1960s.jpg

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'Honey Boo Boo' Star Arrested for Highway Prank -- Alcohol and a Gorilla Suit Allegedly Were Involved

One of the stars of TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" was arrested after an alleged prank on a Georgia highway, reports TMZ.com.

Tony Lindsey, Boo Boo's cousin, was part of a group arrested earlier this month for reckless conduct after a deputy was driving along a highway at night when he noticed a "white male dressed in a gorilla suit acting as if he was going to jump into my lane of travel. I swerved into the left lane to avoid an accident with the person," according to the police report.

The deputy stopped the car and saw "several white males run up the embankment and into the woods." He warned the group he would release his police dog on them, but they yelled that they would return. When he eventually made contact with the group, the gorilla suit had apparently been stashed in the woods.

The officer said the group included five adults and two children, with the adults being booked for reckless conduct. The gorilla suit was taken into evidence, the story adds.

Police say alcohol was involved, according to the story.

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VH1 Cancels Series

VH1 has made the decision to pull the plug on one of its series, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The cable network won’t be bringing back “Mob Wives Chicago,” a spinoff of its New York-based series “Mob Wives,” for a second season.

The Chicago spinoff of the show debuted in June 2012 and ran for 11 episodes. The series “followed the finger-pointing, hair-pulling, name-calling exploits of five local women whose ties to organized crime are tenuous compared to the Staten Island cast,” the story reports.

“It’s just sad; it had so much potential. I guess I have to go back to work,” said Pia Rizza, one of the stars of the show. Rizza is the daughter of notorious Chicago cop Vince Rizza, a bookie and drug dealer who turned on the mob and made a deal with the government, the piece notes.

Rizza blamed the cancellation on the "Mob Wives Chicago" time slot. “It was a terrible time to be aired at Sunday nights in the summer,” said Rizza. She also felt that the Summer Olympics impacted the show’s ratings.

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CW Searching for New Wonder Woman

The CW has hired a casting director to search for the lead in a new project that will feature a Wonder Woman origin story, Deadline.com reports. The move comes in anticipation of receiving a pilot pickup for the project, “Amazon.”

The character is called Iris -- not Diana -- and comes from a remote country where she has spent her life as a soldier. While a leader on the battlefield, she's inexperienced with personal relationships and has no social filters. Her character finds everything about our world new and fascinating, from skyscrapers to ice cream, the story notes.

It's not surprising that the CW is looking toward another superhero, given its biggest hit in years has been this fall's "Arrow," based on the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow.

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Mob Drama in Development at Cinemax

A mob drama has been put into development at Cinemax, HBO's sister network, reports Deadline.com. The hourlong drama, “Kingpin,” is from writer Chad St. John and Overbrook Entertainment, the production company run by Will Smith and James Lassiter.

The project is about a mid-level drug trafficker who is trying to get out of the business but is blackmailed back into it by a crooked DEA agent who wants to make the trafficker into a puppet kingpin, the story says.

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Nickelodeon Picks Up Spinoff Series Bringing Together Characters From Two Shows

Just days after "iCarly" aired its finale -- with 6.4 million viewers tuning in -- Nickelodeon has picked up a spinoff bringing together a character from that show and one from the series "Victorious," according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

Called "Sam & Cat," the new show will feature Jennette McCurdy reprising her role as Sam Puckett from "iCarly" and Ariana Grande portraying Cat Valentine from "Victorious," the story notes. The show will track the pair as they become roommates and teen entrepreneurs who start a babysitting business.

The network, which ordered the pilot in August, has ordered 20 episodes, with the series to begin production in January and to debut sometime in 2013.

"iCarly" just ended its six-season run, while "Victorious" will finish its run next year.

jennettemccurdy.jpgJennette McCurdy

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Jackson Family Patriarch Joe Jackson Suffers Stroke

Joseph "Joe" Jackson, the patriarch of the Jackson family and the manager of the Jackson 5, has suffered a stroke, reports Reuters.

Jackson was recovering in a Las Vegas hospital and is said to be dong well, according to a family friend. The 83-year-old was admitted to the hospital after experiencing weakness. He has a history of strokes, according to the friend, Brian Oxman.

Jackson reportedly began feeling weak while walking in a park near his home Wednesday, and was later admitted to the hospital.

"He was talking fine. He sounded excellent to me," said Oxman, who is the former attorney for Joe Jackson’s son Michael Jackson.

joe-jackson.jpgJoe Jackson

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CBS Gives Straight-to-Series Order to Steven Spielberg/Stephen King Drama

CBS is breaking out of the mold of its trademark police procedurals with a new drama series from Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, Deadline.com reports. The network gave a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes of “Under the Dome,” based on King’s 2009 bestseller.

The series, set to run next summer, will be produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Television, the report notes. With “Unforgettable” also in the works, the projects mark CBS’s biggest move in years into off-season scripted originals.

“’Under the Dome’ tells the story of a small New England town suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome,” the story reports. “The town’s inhabitants must deal with surviving the post-apocalyptic conditions while searching for answers to what this barrier is, where it came from and if and when it will go away.”

The project is written by Brian K. Vaughan of “Lost.”

The piece notes: “CBS landed ‘Under the Dome’ in turnaround. The supernatural thriller was originally set up at pay cable sibling Showtime in August 2011. When Amblin sensed the project was not moving forward at Showtime, they asked the network to release it and took it out to the broadcast networks. In an effort to keep the show in the family, Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins, who liked the project despite feeling it was not right for Showtime, recommended it to his CBS counterpart Nina Tassler, who was interested.”

CBS TV Studios will produce the show along with Amblin. Neal Baer is attached as showrunner, and Niels Arden Oplev (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) will direct episode one, the story reports.

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Video: Harvey Weinstein on 'SEAL Team Six' Controversy, Oprah's Movie Surprise and His Beef With NFL Network

Mega-producer Harvey Weinstein talks about his hassle with NFL Network over his new movie “Silver Linings Playbook” -- among other hot topics -- in a new interview video posted by Reuters TV.

Deadline.com reports that NFL Network canceled a scheduled interview with “Playbook” stars Bradley Cooper and Chris Tucker over concerns about the film’s gambling content -- prompting Weinstein to accuse the network of censorship.

In the 25-minute interview, Weinstein touches briefly on a wide range of topics, including Oprah Winfrey’s return to the big screen in “The Butler” and a controversy over the alleged use of confidential information in the movie “SEAL Team Six.”

Here’s the interview video, with the NFL Network material in the first few minutes:

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Charlie Sheen Offers a Job to Angus T. Jones

Charlie Sheen, the star of FX's "Anger Management," invited his former co-star on CBS's "Two and a Half Men," Angus T. Jones, to join Sheen’s current show, reports ABC News.

Sheen said in an interview with the news site, "My former nephew is welcome at the Goodson Anger Management home anytime," referring to his therapist character, Charlie Goodson on "Anger Management."

As we reported earlier, the 19-year-old Jones -- who recently described "Two and a Half Men" as filth before issuing an apology for his comments -- has generally been expected to remain with the CBS show.

However, some media reports have begun to surface that cast doubt on Jones’ future with the show. Vanity Fair released a tweet saying simply: "Angus T. Jones Will Reportedly Leave Two and a Half Men After the Current Season."

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Four-Way Logjam Atop the Broadcast Ratings for Wednesday Night

The big four broadcast networks finished in a tight four-network pack in the prime-time ratings race Wednesday night, based on Nielsen overnights.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Fox and ABC both finished with 2.8 average ratings for prime time in the key 18-49 demo, followed closely by CBS, with a 2.7 average, and NBC with a 2.5. CBS led total viewers with an average of 11.5 million, followed by Fox with 8.1 million, ABC with 8.0 million and NBC with 8.0 million.

Programming was generally rated higher than a week ago, when viewership was down for Thanksgiving Eve. The top show of the night was ABC’s “Modern Family” with a 4.7 average rating in viewers 18-49, up slightly from last week’s 4.6.

CBS was paced by “Criminal Minds” with a 2.9 in 18-49, up 7% from last week, while “Survivor: Philippines” turned in a 2.7, up 17%, and “CSI” delivered a 2.6, up 8%.

Special holiday programming did well, with NBC’s “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” scoring a four-year high with a 2.1 in viewers 18-49, 11% better than last year, while the network’s two-hour prime-time special “Saturday Night Live Christmas” brought in a 2.7. ABC’s repeat of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” delivered a 2.9, up 4% from last year.

Fox’s two-hour “The X Factor” came through with a 2.8 average in 18-49, up a hefty 27% from a week ago.

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For the First Time in Its 64-Year History, Motor Trend Gives Its Car of the Year Award to a Vehicle With No Internal Combustion Engine -- Can You Guess What It Is?

Motor Trend magazine has named its 2013 Car of the Year, and for the first time in the 64-year history of the award it goes to a car with no internal combustion engine: the Tesla Model S.

Writing in the magazine, Angus MacKenzie describes the car as “one of the quickest American four-doors ever built. It drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive. But it's also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius. Oh, and it'll sashay up to the valet at a luxury hotel like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk. By any measure, the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable automobile.”

One of the most remarkable things about the car is that it is all-electric.

MacKenzie writes: “Sure, the Tesla's electric powertrain delivers the driving characteristics and packaging solutions that make the Model S stand out against many of its internal combustion engine peers. But it's only a part of the story. At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel.”

The car boasts a base price of $58,570 -- before a federal tax credit of $7,500, the report notes, with a variety of performance packages that can pump up the price tag considerably.

“Tesla offers three lithium-ion battery packs for the Model S -- 40-kW-hr, 60-kW-hr, and 85-kW-hr -- that are claimed to provide ranges of 140, 200, and 265 miles, respectively,” the piece reports. “The base 85-kW-hr powertrain delivers a stout 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the performance version makes 416 hp and 443 lb-ft.”

The report concludes: “The mere fact the Tesla Model S exists at all is a testament to innovation and entrepreneurship, the very qualities that once made the American automobile industry the largest, richest, and most powerful in the world. That the 11 judges unanimously voted the first vehicle designed from the wheels up by a fledgling automaker the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year should be cause for celebration. America can still make things. Great things.”

TeslaModelS.jpgTesla Model S

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Four-Time Emmy Winner Loses Home to Foreclosure

An actress who won four Emmys during a long run on one of television’s most popular shows has lost her Palm Springs home in a foreclosure sale, USA Today reports.

Allison Janney, a familiar television actress known for NBC's "The West Wing" and other shows, co-owned the house, which was once owned by movie star William Holden. The house, which Janney and co-owner Gregg Rapp, a restaurant consultant, purchased in 2006 for $3.9 million, was sold for $2.2 million.

The place, a steel-and-glass design by architect Hugh Kaptur, was in need of extensive renovation. The house sits on nearly four acres, and includes a spacious master suite with a two-way fireplace, 36-foot-long walk-in closet and dressing room, a large foyer leading to a living and dining room area and long expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows and sliders.

Janney received six Emmy nominations from 2000-2006 for playing C.J. Cregg on “West Wing,” winning four trophies -- the first two as a supporting actress before moving up to lead actress for her final four nominations and two wins. She is also known for her film appearances, including “Juno” and “The Help.”

allison-janney.jpgAllison Janney

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CW Cancels the Series That Had Fall Season's Lowest-Rated Premiere

The CW has canceled the series that reportedly had the lowest-rated premiere of the fall season, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed. The show is the freshman medical drama "Emily Owens, M.D.," which stars Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer as a first-year intern, the report notes.

The series wraps production on its initial 13-episode order next week, and the network will air all 13 episodes.

The show had the lowest-rated premiere of the fall season, the piece notes, and while it was improving slightly with each original episode, it wasn’t enough. For the season, the series has averaged a 0.4 rating in the key 18-49 demo.

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Lindsay Lohan Arrested

Lindsay Lohan was arrested this morning in New York City, according to media reports. The actress was arrested at about 4 a.m. for allegedly punching a woman at the Avenue nightclub, reports TMZ.com.

Newsday reports that Lohan was charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. She was expected to be released after being issued a desk appearance ticket.

Lohan got into an argument with a female patron at Avenue, and the dispute became physical, according to police.

TMZ reports: “Law enforcement tells us prior to the fight words were exchanged between Lindsay and the woman as they sat in separate booths near each other. Lindsay said something to the effect of, ‘Give me my space.’ Some time passed and then, for some reason, Lindsay allegedly punched the girl in the left side of her face.”

When police arrived, Lohan had exited the club and was in a car leaving the area, but the police intercepted the car and arrested her.

As reported previously, Lohan, who is on probation in connection with a jewelry theft, already risks having her probation revoked because of another incident, in which she’s accused of lying to police. The charge in the latest incident could also trigger a probation violation.

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Endgame for Fox Drama: Network Still Won't Invoke the C-Word, but the Show Is Clearly Finished

Without invoking the “C-word” -- canceled -- Fox appears to have determined the fate of its low-rated freshman drama "The Mob Doctor," writes Bill Carter in The New York Times' Media Decoder.

One big question lingering over the fall season was why the network hadn’t canceled the show, Carter writes: "The answer had proved elusive all autumn, unless it had to do with the network not having anything else to insert into what has become a forbidding time period, Mondays at 9 p.m.”

But at last Fox appears "to be fitting a pair of cement shoes" for the show, with the announcement that when the final finished episode airs Jan. 7, it won't roll out any additional episodes, the story says.

"Still, that was not quite an official rub out; Fox executives would not use the word cancel. So, conceivably, 'The Mob Doctor' could be renewed for next season," Carter adds. "It should be noted, however, that this happens to shows with puny ratings about as often as cement shoes prove to be flotation devices."

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The Rather Odd Reason Matt Lauer Says He Doesn't Pay Attention to One Form of Viewer Criticism

Matt Lauer, the co-host of NBC's "Today," tells the New York Daily News that he's unfazed by criticism he receives on Twitter.

The reason? He says he barely looks at the micro-blogging service.

People who tweet "have an opinion and two thumbs, and that gives them the right to do whatever they want,” Lauer told the paper.

As for negative comments on Twitter, he added, “I’m not on it enough to know. I’m really not. I don’t pay enough attention to it.”

The explanation begs the question as to why, then, Lauer would even keep a Twitter account.

On Thanksgiving, when Lauer was a part of the network’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Twitter users picked apart everything about him -- from his aging appearance to the mispronunciation of a Gershwin song, the story notes.

The piece reports: “Among the more choice tweets was ‘Matt Lauer should get a lifetime achievement award for saying ridiculous things with deadpan, absolute sincerity. Way to go, Matt.’ Another wrote, ‘Is there a device to delete Matt Lauer’s voice while watching the Macy’s parade?’”

The Twitter criticisms come as NBC executives have defended Lauer, with departing "Today" executive producer Jim Bell saying Lauer had nothing to do with dumping Ann Curry, a move that angered a lot of viewers, the piece adds.

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Kevin Reilly, Chair of Fox Entertainment, Has Tough Words for Hollywood: 'We're Too Obsessed With Each Other and Not Enough With the Consumer.' Rethinking Needed, From the Way Shows Are Created to When They Air

Fox Broadcasting Chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly has some tough words for those in the TV business.

"Reilly said the industry has not gotten its arms around the impact of the DVR or the need to consider how viewers embrace and engage with a show, as well as how it rates," according to a report written by Alex Ben Block in The Hollywood Reporter. The piece continues: "He added that a lot of people who make TV don’t actually watch it the way real people watch it."

In a headline-making moment, Reilly said, “A lot of us -- the way we conduct ourselves -- we have our head up our ass."

According to the story, Reilly added: "As an industry, when you’re in the talent business, we are way too obsessed on the competition with each other and not enough with the consumer. The consumer has spoken loudly and clearly, and the genie is not going back in the bottle."

The story then notes that Reilly "argued that TV needs to adapt to these changes -- from the way shows are created to when they air."

Reilly is then quoted as saying: “The one-size-fits-all nature of the business for the most part worked well for 50 years, but now there is an evolution. This is what I mean when I say our heads are up our ass. … I see us in the industry buying cut-rate fare because [we think] people want to watch cut-rate fare in summer. That’s not true.“

Reilly's comments come from a TV industry panel he was on during a luncheon in the Century City area of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012.

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Report: Angus T. Jones Staying on 'Two and a Half Men'

Since "Two and a Half Men" star Angus T. Jones went public with criticism of his own show, some have speculated that he may be on the way out of the show’s lineup. But the 19-year-old actor won't be leaving the show -- at least, not if he has his way, reports People.com.

A source close to the actor is quoted in the story saying: "Angus expects to report to work after the holiday break in January. He intends to honor his contract through the end of the season."

As previously reported, Jones apologized and expressed gratitude toward the show, after he had made comments in a taped video for a religious group in which he called the sitcom "filth."

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MTV Cancels Series

MTV is pulling the plug on a series after one season, Deadline.com reports. After a season of soft ratings, the network has canceled the sitcom "The Inbetweeners," the U.S. remake of an award-winning British series, the story reports.

Its biggest supporters, head of programming David Janollari and co-head of scripted Clay Spencer, recently left the network in an executive shakeup.

Aside from "Teen Wolf," MTV hasn't had much luck getting a scripted series to catch on with viewers, with shows such as "I Just Want My Pants Back" getting a warm critical reception but low ratings, leading to early cancellation.

"Inbetweeners" was about four high school students who belong to the social class between the popular kids and the geeks.

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CNN Makes It Official, Puts Former NBC Boss Jeff Zucker in Charge of CNN Worldwide

CNN announced today that Jeff Zucker, former head of NBC, has been named president of CNN Worldwide. We reported earlier this week that the announcement was expected soon.

Making the announcement was Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

“In January 2013, Zucker will assume executive oversight of a portfolio of 23 branded news and information businesses that includes CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN.com and HLN and reaches more than 2 billion people in some 200 countries around the world,” the company announced. “Zucker will report to Kent and will be based at CNN in New York.”

Zucker spent 25 years with NBC, starting as a researcher working on the 1988 Summer Olympics and rising to president and CEO of NBCUniversal. His news experience at the network included executive producing “Today” and “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” and overseeing NBC’s coverage of the Persian Gulf War, the 1993 and 1997 presidential inaugurations and the 2000 elections, among other top stories.

He went on to be president of NBC Entertainment, president of the NBC Entertainment, News & Cable group and president and CEO of the NBC Universal Television Group. More recently he has been executive producer on Katie Couric’s daytime talk show “Katie.”

Said Kent: “Jeff’s experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success. He built and sustained the number-one brand in morning news, and under his watch NBC’s signature news programming set a standard for quality and professionalism. As a programmer, a brand-builder and a leader, he will bring energy and new thinking to CNN. I couldn’t be happier to welcome him or more excited about what he’ll accomplish here.”

Zucker added: “I am thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN. The global reach and scale of the CNN brand is unparalleled in all of news. Outside of my family and the Miami Dolphins, there is nothing I am as passionate about as journalism. I spent the most rewarding years of my career as a journalist, and it’s where I look forward to spending many more.”

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ABC Ups the Episode Orders for Two Shows

ABC has ordered additional episodes of two series, B&C reports. The network raised the total to 18 episodes for "Malibu Country" and "Last Man Standing," ordering five additional episodes of each show, the story reports.

The Reba McEntire comedy "Malibu Country" opened with a solid 2.3 rating among viewers 18-49 on Nov. 2, while "Last Man Standing," the lead-in to "Malibu Country," opened its second season with a 2.1 rating.

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Spinoff in Consideration at Starz as 'Spartacus' Winds Down

Starz' "Spartacus" franchise, which will air its last installment with "Spartacus: War of the Damned" starting in January, may continue with a spinoff series focused on Julius Caesar, reports Deadline.com.

The spinoff idea is in the early stages, with "Spartacus" executive producer Robert Tapert overseeing the project. Tapert and creator and executive producer Steven DeKnight were responsible for the creation of the franchise, although DeKnight is busy with Starz' sci-fi drama "Incursion," the piece adds.

The character of Caesar will be introduced in the third and final season of the historical drama, with the Australian actor Todd Lasance portraying him.

“Spartacus: War of the Damned,” the third and final season of the “Spartacus” series, premieres Jan. 25.

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Three New Ghost Shows on Tap for Syfy

Three new ghost shows are in the works at Syfy, with two slated to debut in early 2013, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

"Ghost Mine" is about ghosts in an abandoned Oregon gold mine. The show will feature a group of miners who pair with experienced paranormal investigators to examine the mysteries of the mine, the story says. The show will debut Jan. 16.

"Stranded," slated for a Feb. 27 debut, will feature self-recorded footage by paranormal enthusiasts, with teams of three stranded in haunted locations and given hand-held cameras.

A third series is from the producers of "Ghost Hunters" and is called "Notorious Hauntings." The show will premiere in spring 2013 and will feature researchers who investigate paranormal activity.

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TLC Orders 'Neat Freaks'

TLC has ordered a special about neatniks called "Neat Freaks," with the idea of testing viewer interest before committing to a series, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

The show will feature people who aren't only focused on keeping their own homes tidy, but also will clean public bathrooms and strangers' homes, the story notes. One person profiled on the show spends eight to 10 hours a day scrubbing down her own home.

The show will air Weds., Dec. 5 at 10 p.m.

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It's Official: Two Winning Tickets Sold in Tonight's $579.9 Million Powerball Lottery -- One in Arizona and One in Missouri

"The numbers have been drawn for the record Powerball jackpot and officials say winning tickets were purchased in Arizona and Missouri," reports the Associated Press.

The story says "A lottery official said late Wednesday that the jackpot increased to $579.9 million by the time of the drawing, making the cash option $379.8 million. Americans went on a ticket-buying spree in recent days, the big money enticing many people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery to purchase a shot at the second-largest payout in U.S. history."

The article continues, "Tickets were selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide -- about six times the volume from a week ago. That meant the jackpot could climb even higher before the Wednesday night drawing, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.The jackpot had already rolled over 16 consecutive times without a winner."

The story notes that in March the Mega Millions multi-state lottery reached a jackpot of $656 million, which remains the largest lottery payout of all time.Three winning tickets were sold for that payoff.

The winning numbers to the Nov. 28th, 2012 Powerball lottery were 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and a Powerball of 6.

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Here Are Tonight's Winning Powerball Numbers. The Jackpot is Close to $580 Million.

Here is breaking news from CNN.com: "Winning numbers for the nearly $580 million Powerball lottery jackpot are 5-23-16-22-29. The Powerball is 6."

Good luck!

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'Dancing With the Stars' Finale Pushes ABC to Ratings Win -- But It's Close

With its “Dancing with the Stars” finale performing below the ratings marks of recent season finales for the show, ABC attracted just enough viewers Tuesday night to eke out a win over CBS and NBC in the key 18-49 demo, based on Nielsen overnight figures.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that ABC finished prime time with a 2.8 average rating in adults 18-49, just ahead of CBS’s 2.7 average and NBC’s 2.5, with Univision coming in at 1.8 and Fox trailing with a 1.7. CBS came in on top in total viewers with an average of 14.4 million to ABC’s 13.9 million, followed by NBC with 7.0 million, Univision with 4.4 million and Fox with 3.4 million.

ABC’s two-hour “Dancing” finale turned in a 3.0 average in the 18-49 demo, a 33% improvement over last week but down 6% from the spring finale and down 27% from the fall finale a year ago.

CBS’s two “NCIS” shows turned in strong performances, but “Vegas” brought down the network’s average. “NCIS” was up 17% from a week ago with a 3.5 average in viewers 18-49 while “NCIS: Los Angeles” climbed 4% to a 2.9. “Vegas” matched its series low with a 1.6, off 11% from a week ago.

NBC had the top show of the night, with “The Voice” delivering a 3.8 average in 18-49, improving 12% on last week. The rest of NBC’s lineup was also up: “Go On” turned in a 2.5, up 19%; “The New Normal” had a 1.7, up 13%; and “Parenthood” came in with a 1.8, up 6%.

Even with its fifth-place finish, Fox’s numbers were up across the board: “Raising Hope” rose 13% from last week to a 1.7 in the 18-49 demo, “Ben and Kate” was up 27% to a 1.4, “New Girl” ticked up 15% to a 2.3 and “The Mindy Project” also rose 15%, to a 1.5.

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Rocker Steven Tyler Responds to Racism Accusation by 'American Idol' Judge Nicki Minaj

Aerosmith frontman and former “American Idol” judge Steven Tyler responded to an accusation of racism by “Idol” judge Nicki Minaj, denying that he is a racist and offering an apology, E! Online reports.

As previously reported, Minaj took exception to a comment by Tyler that if Bob Dylan appeared before the current “Idol” judges, Minaj would “have had him sent to the cornfield.” The expression is somewhat familiar to people who grew up on early television -- an apparent reference to a classic "Twilight Zone" episode.

Minaj, however, apparently was unfamiliar with the "Twilight Zone" reference. She got busy on Twitter, releasing a series of tweets blasting Tyler over what she called a “racist comment.”

Tyler responded on eTalk, a Canadian entertainment show, saying: "I apologize if it was taken wrong, Nicki.”

Tyler added: "But I am the farthest from [being a racist]. I am the last thing on this planet as far as being a racist. I don't know where she got that out of me saying I'm not sure how she would've judged Bob Dylan."

Tyler clarified his earlier comment, saying all he meant by it was that "if Bob Dylan came on the show, he would've been thrown off."

"Maybe I spoke out of turn," he added. "But a racist I'm not, Nicki."

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McCartney, Springsteen and Kanye Topline Hurricane Sandy TV Special

Music superstars Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Who, Jon Bon Jovi, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder are among the headliners for a Dec. 12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, reports Variety.

From the stage of New York's Madison Square Garden, the stars will perform to raise funds for the victims of the deadly storm that struck the East Coast in October.

HBO, AMC, Showtime and Sundance Channel are among the networks that will broadcast the show, with other networks also expected to part in airing the four-hour concert. It will also be livestreamed by Hulu, Yahoo and AOL.

Cablevision's James Dolan, Clear Channel President John Sykes and Oscar-winning producer Harvey Weinstein will produce the concert. Proceeds will benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund, an offshoot of the Gotham-based philanthropic Robin Hood Foundation.

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As Tonight's Powerball Jackpot Hits a Minimum of $550 Million, Californians Wonder Why Powerball Isn't Played in the Nation's Biggest State. In Fact, Powerball Could Be Coming to California Soon

With the nation caught up in Powerball mania as the multistate jackpot for tonight’s drawing grows to $550 million and beyond, residents of the country’s largest state are feeling left out. But the Los Angeles Times reports that they may soon be able to get in on the action -- just not in time for tonight’s excitement.

“At their Thursday meeting, the California State Lottery Commission is expected to adopt regulations to join 42 other states that participate in the Powerball lottery,” the paper reports. “California retailers could begin selling the $2 tickets in 2013.”

No one has won the Powerball jackpot since Oct. 6, the piece notes, causing the jackpot to roll over 16 times. Lottery officials say the jackpot goes up by at least $10 million each time it rolls over.

“To play Powerball, a participant must pick five unique numbers from a field of one through 59, and a Powerball number from one through 35. The Powerball number can be the same as any of the first five numbers,” the story reports. “The odds of winning are 1 in 175,223,510.”

The Times piece adds: “According to the agenda for the commission’s Thursday meeting, joining Powerball would bring in an additional $90 million to $120 million in sales to California, even with an expected drop-off in SuperLotto Plus and MegaMillions sales. Lotto revenue helps supplement education spending in California.”

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Nickelodeon Celebrates Strong Ratings -- Including the Top Telecast of November in Kids and Tweens

Nickelodeon is marking a number of ratings achievements, including the top telecast in kids and tween demos for the month of November, with the one-hour “iCarly” finale.

The Nov. 23 airing of the finale, “iGoodBye,” delivered 6.4 million total viewers. It was the month’s top telecast in all kids and tween demos, the network announced.

“Also, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ ended the month as the top two animated series with K2-11 across all TV and are basic cable’s top animated kids’ shows with total viewers, respectively,” Nickelodeon announced. “Nickelodeon’s newest addition to its live-action roster, ‘Marvin Marvin,’ debuted with a strong 2.6 million total viewers, posting double-digit gains over last year with kids and tweens.”

The “iCarly” finale delivered 2.8 million kids 2-11; 2.3 million kids 6-11; and 2.6 million tweens 9-14. It was basic cable’s top kids telecast of the month in total viewers.

“SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” ranked as the top two animated series in kids 2-11 across all TV, with “SpongeBob” averaging 2.1 million and “Turtles” averaging 1.6 million. The two series were basic cable’s top animated shows in total viewers, with 4.1 million for “SpongeBob” and 3.3 million for “Turtles.”

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Former 'Melrose Place' Actress Guilty in Woman's Death, Faces Up to 15 Years in Prison

One of the original cast members of the prime-time Fox soap opera “Melrose Place” has been found guilty of vehicular homicide and assault by automobile in connection with a collision that killed a 60-year-old woman and critically injured her husband, USA Today reports.

Amy Locane-Bovenizer, who played Sandy Louise Harling on the 1990s drama series, was driving drunk when the crash occurred in Montgomery Township, N.J., in 2010, according to the report.

She was acquitted of a more serious charge of aggravated manslaughter, the story reports.

“The verdict followed a six-week trial in which she did not testify but her defense attorneys argued the crash was the result of a ‘perfect storm’ of bad circumstances,” the piece reports. “Prosecutors said Locane-Bovenizer's blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, and she was speeding on a dark two-lane road. Her lawyers conceded she was driving under the influence, but they said she was being chased by another driver she had rear-ended earlier, forcing her to speed.”

The actress, who left “Melrose Place” after appearing in 13 episodes, “faces five to 10 years on the vehicular homicide charge, and three to five on the assault by auto charge,” the report says. “She also faces penalties for nine motor vehicle charges, including DWI and fleeing the scene of an accident.”

amy-locane-bovenizer2.jpgAmy Locane-Bovenizer

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Movie Known as a Notorious Box Office Bomb Might Become a TV Series

It's known as one of Hollywood's biggest box office bombs and isn't an obvious choice to make into a television series, but Syfy is viewing it as an "underexploited piece of intellectual property," reports Jeff Bercovici at Forbes.com.

That property is "Waterworld," the 1995 Kevin Costner film that reportedly cost $235 million, making it the most expensive movie ever at the time, the story notes. That record was later overtaken by "Titanic," a huge worldwide hit, while "Waterworld" only escaped losing money through home video sales.

Every time the network airs "Waterworld," it draws a healthy viewership, with 400,000 people tuning in for the most recent broadcast, the piece notes.

A series based on the movie is something that has been "talked about endlessly" and remains a possibility, according to Dave Howe, the president of Syfy.

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Video: TV Stations Around the U.S. Reported Identical News, Revealing Hidden 'Affiliate Service' -- and Were Outed by a Conan O'Brien Comedy Clip

Television stations around the U.S. broadcast identical news in a story that ran during the late stages of the presidential campaign, The Washington Post reports. The reports on a number of stations led off with the same phrase: "The final days of the campaign can get a little salty.”

At least a dozen stations in both large and small cities carried the same story about restaurants serving drinks and dishes with names inspired by the candidates. The trend was so striking that Conan O'Brien strung the clips together for a comedy bit on his TBS show. (See the clip below.)

The reason for the identical scripts is that the "salty" story was produced by an "affiliate service," CNN Newsource. Stations get scripts that introduce prepackaged footage, which the stations can localize by having their anchors read the scripts, the story says.

"Viewers typically have no idea that a seemingly local story has come from a centralized source in New York, Los Angeles or, in this case, Washington. The CNN Newsource story, for example, doesn’t mention CNN Newsource or CNN, its parent company," the piece points out.

Here's the Conan clip:

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'That '70s Show' Star Arrested

One of the stars of the long-running Fox period sitcom "That '70s Show" has been arrested in North Carolina, TMZ.com reports. Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Eric Forman’s (Topher Grace) promiscuous older sister on the comedy series, was arrested for allegedly assaulting her husband, the story reports.

Kelly, 42, was arrested along with her husband, 61, after an apparent violent encounter in which they reportedly assaulted each other. Kelly and her husband remained in custody at the time of the report.

It's not the first brush with the law for Kelly, who pleaded guilty to DUI in 2010, the piece notes. She was involved in a domestic violence case earlier this year in Los Angeles, as previously reported, with the district attorney eventually declining to file charges in that case.

Kelly’s mug shot in the L.A. case became an Internet sensation for a period of time back in April -- click here to see it.

lisa-robin-kelly2.jpgLisa Robin Kelly

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Angus T. Jones of 'Two and a Half Men' Opens Up About Controversial Video

"Two and a Half Men" star Angus T. Jones has opened up for the first time after sparking a controversy with statements he made in a church testimonial, in which he called the CBS comedy "filth" and urged viewers not to watch, reports Deadline.com.

As previously reported, Jones made the comments in a taped video for a religious group called Forerunner Chronicles. After asking viewers to stop watching the sitcom, he added, "I don't want to be on it."

Jones on Tuesday released a statement to Deadline, in which he expressed his gratitude toward the show, co-creator Chuck Lorre, CBS, series producer Warner Bros. TV and studio head Peter Roth for providing him with "the opportunity they have given and continue to give me and the help and guidance I have and expect to continue to receive from them."

He added, "I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that."

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Angus Jones Video Awakens the Father of All 'Two and a Half Men' Bashers: Charlie Sheen

Former “Two and a Half Men” star and longtime Chuck Lorre foil Charlie Sheen is joining in the feeding frenzy over a video featuring “Men’s” Angus T. Jones calling the CBS sitcom “filth,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sheen seized on the opportunity to revisit his feud with show creator Lorre, telling TMZ: "I dare anyone to spend 10 years in the laugh-track that is Chuck Lorre's hive of oppression and not suffer some form of an emotional tsunami.”

In a separate statement to People magazine, Sheen said: "With Angus’ Hale-Bopp-like meltdown, it is radically clear to me that the show is cursed."

“His remarks referenced the Heaven's Gate cult, whose 39 members killed themselves in 1997 in an effort to reach what they presumed to be an alien spacecraft following Comet Hale-Bopp,” THR notes.

Sheen also told TMZ: "Obviously, not having been there for some time, the Angus T. Jones that I knew and still love is not the same guy I saw on YouTube yesterday."

Jones has apologized for his comments in the video, as we reported today.

THR adds: “Sources told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday that Jones’ character, Jake, will not appear in the next two episodes being filmed, both of which [are] slated to air next year, but that his absence is purely coincidental and has nothing to do with his ‘Men’-bashing commentary.”

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'SNL' Unveils Guest Lineup for Christmas Episode -- Including a Former Cast Member and a Former Beatle

A former “Saturday Night Live” cast member returns to the program as guest host for the show’s Christmas episode, Deadline.com reports, with a former Beatle scheduled as the musical guest.

Martin Short will return to "SNL” for his third hosting appearance on the Dec. 15 show, while Paul McCartney is booked for his fourth turn as the musical guest, the report notes.

Additionally, the show announced that Jamie Foxx will host the Dec. 8 episode, before the opening of his new film "Django Unchained" on Dec. 25. Ne-Yo will be the musical guest.

Short was an “SNL” cast member in the mid-1980s and is credited with helping to turn the show around after the departure of Eddie Murphy.

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Report: TV's Share of Advertising Will Decline in 2013

Television's share of advertising will decline in 2013, as marketers shift to digital media, reports Deadline.com, citing a survey of 50 ad buyers from Cowen & Co.

The ad buyers are positive about next year, predicting that overall U.S. ad spending will grow 4.6% from 2012. But the additional dollars will largely go to digital media -- especially toward media that appeals to tablet and smartphone users, the story adds.

Digital will grab 33.5% of 2013's spending, up from 28.7% this year. Television's share, meanwhile, will drop to 39.4% from 41.4%.

"TV consumption has remained static at 12-13 hrs/week” from 2004 to 2010, according to Cowen & Co. “Only Internet consumption has increased, from under 6 hrs/week in 2004 to 13 hrs/week in 2010," the study said.

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PBS Fixture Huell Howser Is Retiring

Huell Howser, who has been creating shows about California for public television for decades, is retiring from creating new programs, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Howser didn't issue a press release about his decision to retire, because he didn't want to make "any formal announcements about it," according to an associate at his production company.

With his long-running show "California's Gold" and his other PBS programs, Howser "is known for his unpretentious manner and wide-eyed amazement," the piece notes.

"'California's Gold,' after 19 years in production, has been called unslick and charming. His shows have spawned drinking games in which a glass is lifted every time Howser utters 'That's amazing!' or when he says something that might seem a tad obvious to a viewer," the piece adds.

huell-howser.jpgHuell Howser

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AMC Orders High-Concept Pilots From Producers of 'Breaking Bad,' 'Bones,' 'Nikita'

High-concept period drama pilots from the producers of "Breaking Bad" and "Nikita" have been ordered by AMC, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

"Halt & Catch Fire" is set during the 1980s PC boom in Texas' "Silicon Prairie." Characters will include an engineer, a prodigy and a visionary, the story says, with the drama to be executive produced by "Breaking Bad" producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein. It's created by Chris Cantwell and Chris Rodgers.

“Turn,” set in the Revolutionary War, is based on the book "Washington's Spies," by Alexander Rose. It's executive produced by "Bones" executive producer Barry Josephson and written by showrunner Craig Silverstein of "Nikita," the piece adds.

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'Downton Abbey' Creator Developing Drama for NBC

"Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes has been signed by NBC to create a period drama set in the Gilded Age of New York City, reports Bill Carter in The New York Times.

The drama, to be produced by NBC Universal Television, will be called "The Gilded Age." The network described it as an "epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance, and the vast fortunes they made -- and spent -- in late 19th century New York.”

Fellowes will continue in his role as executive producer of "Downton Abbey," which, as previously reported, was recently renewed for a fourth season.

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$14 Million Lawsuit Filed Over 'Survivor' Profits

A complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks more than $14 million in profits from the CBS reality series “Survivor” and other shows, Deadline.com reports.

Former CBS and NBC Business Affairs VP Layne Leslie Britton accuses Mark Burnett’s former partner Conrad Riggs of failing to compensate him properly for advice and consulting Britton provided to Burnett and Riggs around the time of “Survivor’s” debut in 2000, the story reports.

“It was only during Riggs’ own $70 million litigation with Burnett, which was settled earlier this year, that Britton claims that he learned ‘what Riggs consistently told him for years amounted to little more than lies and deceit.’ Riggs’ Cloudbreak Entertainment signed a formal agreement with Britton in October 2000, as Britton says he helped the relatively green producers through some of the tricky and costly waters of the network TV business,” the piece reports.

“For this guidance, Riggs informed the mentoring Britton that he would pay him out of his deal to receive 10% of what Burnett made from ‘Survivor’ or other projects.”

The complaint states that the men agreed: “Britton would receive 35% of what Riggs received pursuant to his contract with Burnett for all future cycles of ‘Survivor’ and 40% of all other monies received from Burnett or his companies pursuant to Riggs’ contract with Burnett.”

Britton was paid, but not enough, according to the suit. Britton “now says that he has discovered Riggs’ company made over $35 million from the success of Burnett’s shows over the years,” the story reports. “That was a lot more, the suit claims, than he was informed or compensated for.”

The suit states: “As a direct and proximate result of Riggs’s breaches of fiduciary duties, Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount to be proved at trial, but which, in any case, will exceed $14,000,000,” according to the report.

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Jeff Zucker Has Been Chosen to Run CNN, NY Times Reports

"Several news executives close to [Jeff] Zucker said this week that they believed he had been chosen to run CNN, and they expected the appointment to be announced soon. People close to the Time Warner chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, also identified Mr. Zucker. A Time Warner spokesman declined to comment."

So writes Brian Stelter in The New York Times. Our good friend Bill Carter "contributed reporting" to the story.

Oddly, the paragraph we quote above is not the lead of the story, but, rather, the fifth paragraph of the article, which is primarily about CNN's woes.

Following up on the NY Times story, Dominic Patten at Deadline.com writes, "A source with knowledge of the Zucker/CNN talks confirmed to Deadline, 'They have been in conversation for a long time and it looks like this is a done deal.' "

CNN's longtime president, Jim Walton, announced in July that he will be leaving CNN at the end of this year.

Zucker, the former CEO of NBCUniversal, has been running Katie Couric's syndicated talk show for ABC/Disney. As previously reported, Couric has been actively looking for someone to replace Zucker should he leave her show.

To read an excellent analysis of the challenges Zucker will face running CNN, we suggest you click on the link to the entire New York Times story, above.

jeffzucker.jpg

Jeff Zucker

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Monday Ratings: Three CBS Shows Hit Season Highs, But NBC Pulls Off Another Win

Three CBS shows surged to season highs Monday night based on Nielsen overnight numbers for the key 18-49 demo, but NBC, powered by “The Voice,” chalked up another overall win for prime time, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

“2 Broke Girls” (4.0 average rating in 18-49), “Mike & Molly” (3.6) and “Hawaii Five-0” (2.3) all hit season highs for CBS, while “How I Met Your Mother” also rose, up 17% from a week ago to a 3.4.

But NBC had the top show of the night, with its two-hour “The Voice” delivering a 4.2 in adults 18-49 -- up 14% from last week. NBC’s “Revolution” also continued to flex its muscle, rising 12% to a 2.9.

Fox and ABC both finished below Spanish-language broadcaster Univision in the key demo. ABC scored a 2.6 in the 18-49 demo for “Dancing with the Stars,” an 8% improvement from a week ago, while the network’s back-to-back episodes of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” -- including the season premiere -- failed to generate much interest. The first hour settled for a 1.3 average rating, down from a 1.4 for the previous season finale, while hour two dipped to a 1.2, well off from the usual performance of “Castle” in the time slot.

Fox’s lineup was up: “Bones” climbed 15% from a week ago to a 2.3 and “The Mob Doctor” surged 33% to a 1.2.

For prime time overall, NBC finished in first place with a 3.8 average rating in viewers 18-49, followed by CBS (3.1 average), Univision (1.8), Fox (1.7) and ABC (1.7). NBC claimed a narrow win in total viewers, averaging 11.0 million to 10.2 million for CBS, 9.3 million for ABC, 6.0 million for Fox and 4.3 million for Univision.

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How TNT's 'Dallas' May Benefit From Larry Hagman's Death

When TNT's "Dallas" returns in January for its second season, even with the knowledge that Larry Hagman's death must be addressed, the drama could benefit from the death of the actor, reports the New York Daily News.

Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing, died Friday at 81 after a battle with cancer, as previously reported. Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the TNT series was working on a sendoff for J.R.

A high-ranking TNT executive told the Daily News that Hagman's death will fuel the show’s ratings. “Sure, it sounds a bit morbid, but (Hagman) spent most of his life working in show business and would probably have understood,” the executive said.

TNT took exception to the executive's conjecture. A rep for the network told the Daily News that the network was mourning Hagman and regrets that the exec spoke out of turn.

The rep added, “All of us at TNT are deeply saddened at the news of Larry Hagman’s passing. He was a wonderful human being and an extremely gifted actor. We will be forever thankful that a whole new generation of people got to know and appreciate Larry through his performance as J.R. Ewing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”

In its first season on TNT, “Dallas” averaged 6.1 million viewers -- a major success by cable standards, the piece notes.

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CBS News Moves Producer to Morning Show

The former executive producer of CBS News' "Up to the Minute" and "CBS Morning News" has a new assignment, B&C reports. Brian Applegate has been upped to senior broadcast producer of "CBS This Morning."

Chris Licht, VP of programming for CBS News and executive producer of "CBS This Morning," said in a statement: "Brian has terrific news judgment, and now you'll see that on a bigger platform. He is also a great leader and control room pro."

Licht's statement also included the information that Matthew Glick, who was a senior producer at NBCUniversal for special bookings, will do the same job for CBS's morning show. Said Licht: "I'm very pleased we were able to bring [Matt's] talents here to head up our stellar booking department. His seasoned editorial voice will be a great addition to the senior team."

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Video: Fox News Abruptly Ends Interview With Pulitzer Prize Winner After He Rips the Channel On-Air

During an interview with Fox News host Jon Scott, Pulitzer Prize-winning defense reporter Thomas Ricks declared the cable channel was “operating as a wing of the Republican Party,” prompting Scott to abruptly end the segment, reports Salon.com.

Ricks was on Fox News to discuss Sen. John McCain's opposition to Susan Rice's potential nomination as Secretary of State because of her comments about what happened in Benghazi. Ricks said, “Benghazi generally was hyped by this network especially. And now that the campaign is over, I think he’s [McCain] backing off a little bit. They’re not going to stop Susan Rice from being Secretary of State.”

Scott defended Fox News, saying Benghazi was not "hype." Ricks responded by saying, "The emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.” At that point, Scott stopped the interview.

Here’s the complete interview:

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'Big Bang Theory' Actor in Dispute Over Talent Agency Commissions

An actor on CBS's top-rated situation comedy "The Big Bang Theory" has been accused of failing to pay commissions to his former talent agency, reports Deadline.com.

An attorney for Kunal Nayyar, who plays Raj on the sitcom, responded to the report today. “We have not yet seen a copy of the lawsuit, but we believe our client has acted lawfully. We will respond with a full statement once we have received a copy of the filing,” said attorney Roger S. Haber, the actor's representative.

The action, filed Nov. 14, claims that Nayyar owes Diverse Talent Group more than $100,000 in unpaid commissions. Nayyar was a client of the Diverse Group in 2007 when he was cast on the CBS show. He left Diverse in late 2010. A conference hearing is scheduled for April 3 to address the matter.

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Third Accuser Surfaces Alleging Underage Relationship With Elmo Puppeteer

A third man has surfaced alleging an underage relationship with former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The man, who is identified only as "John," filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan claiming he had sexual contact with Clash when he was 16, the story says. The alleged encounter took place in 2000.

The suit seeks $75,000 or more in damages. Clash's spokeswoman said he believes the lawsuit has no merit.

As previously reported, Clash resigned Nov. 20 from "Sesame Street" amid allegations of underage relationships.

“His resignation came the same day Cecil Singleton filed a claim seeking more than $5 million in damages from Clash. Singleton claims he met the then-32-year-old puppeteer in 1993 in a gay chat room when he was 15,” the report notes. “It added that on numerous occasions over a period of years Clash engaged in sexual activity with Singleton.”

The piece adds: “The newest allegation comes about two weeks after another man recanted his claims that Clash had sex with him when he was 16 years old. The man later said the relationship was consensual.”

Clash has acknowledged a relationship with the original accuser, the story reports, but has said they were both consenting adults at the time.

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Why the Writers Guild Has Told Its Members to Stop Writing for a Major Cable Network

The Writers Guild of America West has told its members to stop writing for a major cable network, claiming that "no other major entertainment company has treated writers and their guild so cavalierly," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The WGA issued a stop-work order Monday against Central Productions, the production unit for the cable network Comedy Central. The union alleges that Central Productions falsely told writers on more than 40 projects that their work was covered by the guild, the piece adds.

The WGA is asking members to verify that their work is actually covered under a guild contract before working on Central Productions shows. The union is in the middle of negotiating with Central for an overall deal, the piece adds.

A representative for Comedy Central didn't respond to the allegations, but said the channel is hopeful an agreement will soon emerge from the negotiations.

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One of the Icons of Early Reality TV Is Now Doing Time in Prison -- and This Time It's Not 'Survivor's' Richard Hatch

One of the early stars of reality television -- whose 15 minutes of fame arrived well before the spotlight shone on “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch -- has ended up in the same place where Hatch spent a fair amount of time: prison.

TMZ.com reports that David Rainey, who was known as "Puck" on MTV’s pioneering reality show "Real World: San Francisco," is serving time on stalking charges.

Rainey was convicted of stalking a woman earlier this year, although details about the incident are unclear, the story says. The 44-year-old former reality star committed the crime on Feb. 22, according to court documents cited in the story. He was sentenced in September to two years in prison, and turned himself in to Wasco State Prison in California on Nov. 8.

“Rainey was given 401 days credit for time served, so he's got roughly 300 days to go,” the report notes. The piece adds that indications are Rainey violated a court order.

On "Real World," where he appeared in 1994, Puck was known for causing conflict in the house and was ultimately kicked out because of his antagonistic relationships with some housemates.

“Survivor” star Hatch ran into trouble with the Internal Revenue Service after winning $1 million on the first edition of the CBS reality franchise in 2000, and wound up serving time for tax evasion.

puck-David-Rainey-real-world.jpgDavid Rainey -- “Real World’s” Puck

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Nicki Minaj Calls Former 'American Idol' Judge 'Racist'

"American Idol" judge Nicki Minaj leveled a charge of racism at a former "Idol" judge, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Minaj called a comment by Steven Tyler “racist” after he speculated that if Bob Dylan had auditioned for the show's current judges, Minaj would “have had him sent to the cornfield," the piece reports.

Minaj took to Twitter to respond to the Aerosmith frontman, writing, "Steven Tyler said I would have sent Bob Dylan to a cornfield??? Steven, you haven't seen me judge one single solitary contestant yet!"

She added, "I understand you really wanted to keep your job but take that up with the producers. I haven't done anything to you. That's a racist comment.”

Minaj also tweeted: “You assume that I wouldn't have liked Bob Dylan??? why? black? rapper? what? go fuck yourself and worry about yourself babe."

In another tweet, Minaj noted: “When Steven 1st went on Idol he was ridiculed by his peers & fans alike. Called a sell out. So what does he do? Ridicule the next judge.”

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ABC's 'Good Morning America' Poised for Ratings Milestone It Hasn't Achieved in 17 Years

ABC’s "Good Morning America" is on the verge of a ratings achievement that it hasn’t accomplished since 1995: winning the November sweeps period.

B&C reports that the show is on track to win both in total viewers -- which it hasn’t done in 17 years -- and in the key news demo of viewers 25-54, which “GMA” hasn’t done in more than 18 years.

With just three days left in the November sweeps, the ABC morning show is averaging 5.35 million total viewers and 2.03 million adults in the 25-54 demographic, higher than "Today’s” 4.89 million average in total viewers and 1.99 million adults in the demo, the story notes. CBS's "This Morning" is in third place with 2.79 million total viewers and 1.07 million in the demo.

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'Daily Show' Regular Quits the Show

Wyatt Cenac of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" is leaving the program in December, reports New York Magazine's Vulture blog.

Cenac joined the Comedy Central show in 2008 as a writer and correspondent. His last appearance is set for Thursday, Dec. 13 -- the show’s final installment of 2012.

Cenac’s career in stand-up has been taking off, the piece notes.

wyatt-cenac.jpgWyatt Cenac

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Production Continues on 'Two and a Half Men' After Verbal Attack by Star Angus T. Jones -- But Is the Actor in Breach of His Contract?

Despite co-star Angus T. Jones' criticism of the show as "filth," production on "Two and a Half Men" is proceeding as usual, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

As we reported Monday, Jones, who plays Jake on the show, went public with unflattering comments about the CBS comedy, calling it "filth" and urging people to stop watching the series.

Jones, 19, is in every episode this season, according to a CBS spokesman.

It's possible that Jones is in breach of contract for his statements, reports Lynette Rice at EW.com's Inside TV.

Rice writes: "Most actors’ deals typically include disparagement clauses that prohibit them from making negative statements about their show in public, but it’s rare for any studio to enforce such a codicil because what can be considered disparagement is so subjective and, as one high-powered source says, 'What moron would stab the show that pays him?'"

The show's studio, Warner Bros. TV, declined to comment on whether Jones' contract includes such a clause. The actor reportedly earns $300,000 per episode.

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Anna Nicole Smith's Daughter Starts Modeling

Anna Nicole Smith's daughter Dannielynn Birkhead has made her modeling debut for Guess, the brand Smith represented starting in 1992, reports People.com. Dannielynn is 6 years old.

It's the first time Guess has tapped the child of a former model, the piece adds. She appears in the Guess Kids spring 2013 campaign.

Other child models in the campaign include Cindy Crawford's daughter and Jennifer Lopez's twins.

Dannielynn-Birkhead-Guess.jpgDannielynn Birkhead

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HBO to Air Beyonce Documentary

A "revealing" film about the pop star Beyonce Knowles has been bought by HBO, which called the documentary "intimate" with "unprecedented access," reports The New York Times' ArtsBeat. The film is produced by Knowles.

The singer's representatives started shopping the film last summer. The project will include material shot by Knowles on her laptop, as well as concert footage and home movies, the story adds.

The film will debut Feb. 16 on HBO.

The report notes: “With HBO, Ms. Knowles gets a best-in-class home for an image-enhancing project; with Ms. Knowles, HBO gets a big star who’s all but guaranteed to bring in an audience. ‘Some of my favorite shows are on HBO, so I am excited that my film will be part of its bold programming,’ she said in a statement on Monday.”

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New, Cheaper Xbox for Casual Gaming and Streaming Reportedly Coming. Will Be a Set-Top to Compete With Apple TV, Others

"Multiple sources familiar with [Microsoft's] plans have confirmed to The Verge that the company plans to introduce a low-cost alternative to its Xbox console, designed to provide access to core entertainment services. The move will allow Microsoft to further increase its presence in the living room, providing consumers with a choice between a set-top box or a full next-generation Xbox console."

So writes Tom Warren on The Verge website.

The story continues, "We're told that the set-top box is part of a two-SKU strategy for Microsoft's next-generation of Xbox hardware that will be unveiled in 2013, with a release date ahead of the holiday shopping season. The device will run on the core components of Windows 8 and support casual gaming titles rather than full Xbox games typically found on a dedicated console. Although hardware specifications aren't fully locked down, we understand Microsoft will use a chipset to enable an "always on" device that boots quickly and resumes to provide near-instant access to TV and entertainment services."

When asked for comment, Microsoft told The Verge, "Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention."

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Wildest Non-TV Story of the Day: U.S. Wanted to Detonate Atom Bomb on the Moon. Plan Involved Carl Sagan

"At the height of the space race, the U.S. considered detonating an atom bomb on the moon as a display of America's Cold War muscle, reports Asia News International (ANI).

The story continues, "The secret project, named 'A Study of Lunar Research Flights' and nicknamed 'Project A119,' however was never carried out. America's planning included calculations by astronomer Carl Sagan, then a young graduate student, of the behavior of dust and gas generated by the blast, the Daily Mail reports

The ANI story adds, "The plan consisted of carrying a nuclear device some 238,000 miles to the moon on a missile that would have detonated on impact. The U.S. allegedly wanted to blast the moon with a nuclear bomb to display its power to the Soviet Union during the 'space race.' "

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'Portlandia' Books Roseanne Barr, George Wendt, Juliette Lewis and Others for Guest Spots

The third season of "Portlandia," the IFC sketch comedy starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, has lined up guest spots from a range of actors, including Roseanne Barr, George Wendt, Juliette Lewis and Patton Oswalt, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

Other guest stars include two of Armisen's castmates from "Saturday Night Live," Bill Hader and Bobby Moynihan, the story notes. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova and comedian Jim Gaffigan will also appear. It was previously announced that Chloe Sevigny will be seen in a number of episodes as the new roommate to Armisen and Brownstein.

The third season premieres Jan. 4 at 10 p.m., although the program will air a "pre-premiere" winter-themed episode Dec. 14.

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Bravo Can't Get Enough of Atlanta

Bravo apparently loves Atlanta as a reality television setting -- as evidenced by the network's decision to greenlight two new unscripted series, reports Deadline.com.

"Taking Atlanta" (working title) tells the story of a group of ambitious Georgians who are trying to make it in the fashion, music, real estate and hospitality industries. "Married to Medicine" covers the lives of women who are doctors or doctors' wives who circulate in that part of the Atlanta social scene.

As we reported Monday, Kim Zolciak will be back with a second season of her Atlanta-based show "Don't Be Tardy for the Wedding" -- which will be renamed now that Zolciak is married. Zolciak will no longer be part of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta."

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Another Personnel Problem for 'Two and a Half Men'? One of the Show's Stars Calls the Show 'Filth' and Says He Wants Out

The CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” apparently didn’t solve all of its personnel problems when it booted former star Charlie Sheen during his public meltdown almost two years ago. Now another of the show’s stars, Angus T. Jones, has gone public with some decidedly unflattering comments about the show, TVLine.com reports.

Jones, who has grown up on the show as Jon Cryer's son Jake, now considers the program to be "filth," the story reports. Jones taped a video for a religious group called Forerunner Chronicles in which he denounces the Chuck Lorre comedy.

On the video, Jones testifies: “If you watch 'Two and a Half Men,' please stop watching 'Two and a Half Men.' I’m on 'Two and a Half Men,' and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it; please stop filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment. ... Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, especially with what you watch.”

Here’s the video, with Jones' comments on the show starting around 7:35:

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Bravo to Focus Another Season on a Reality Star Who Has Turned Into a Franchise

Bravo is making plans to spend another season examining the life of a reality personality who has turned into something of a one-woman franchise for the cable channel. Kim Zolciak, one of the original stars of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," will be returning for a new version of her spinoff series, "Don't Be Tardy for the Wedding," reports In Touch Weekly.

The show will get a new name for season two because the first season ended with Zolciak's marriage to NFL star Kroy Bierrman. In the new season, the show will focus on the couple's life in Atlanta, where he's a defensive player on the Atlanta Falcons, and Kim has a music career.

Kim told the magazine, “It’s going to a fun, lighthearted show about our crazy everyday life. My amazing husband is doing awesome in the NFL, we’re building a home, we have a teenager, a tween and two babies."

Zolciak is the mother of daughters Brielle, 15, and Ariana, 10 (from a previous marriage), and sons with Kroy: KJ, 17 months, and Kash, 3 months.

Thumbnail image for kim-zolciak.jpgKim Zolciak-Bierrman

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Oprah Winfrey Health Scare Revealed; Also: Will She Shut Down O Magazine?

Oprah Winfrey shared news of a recent health scare while attending a conference, announcing “out of nowhere” that she had been concerned she might have breast cancer before learning it was a false alarm, The Huffington Post reports, citing an interview with Winfrey in The New York Times.

The conference, for O, The Oprah Magazine, took place in October in Los Angeles, but news of the health scare came as a revelation in The Times interview, published today. Another revelation in the piece concerns the magazine, with Winfrey revealing that she is considering shutting down the publication if it begins to lose money.

According to The Times, Winfrey’s health announcement at the conference took even her best friend, Gayle King, by surprise. “When Ms. King grew visibly upset, one woman chided Ms. Winfrey for not telling her friend ahead of time and ordered her to apologize to Ms. King -- all before an audience,” The Times reports.

The report adds: “Ms. Winfrey also did not hide her dissatisfaction with the criticism she had faced. She told the audience, ‘The press tried to cut me off at the knees’ in its coverage of OWN, and bristled at questions about the challenges her magazine confronted.”

Regarding the magazine, Winfrey said, "I'm not interested, you know, in bleeding money.”

“It's not clear if Oprah would end the magazine altogether, or follow in the footsteps of Newsweek and switch to an all-digital edition,” HuffPost notes.

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ABC Drama Sinks to Season Low

On a Sunday night when live football telecasts shuffled the ratings for a number of broadcast networks -- meaning the preliminary numbers will be subject to more than the usual adjustments -- ABC’s second-year drama series “Revenge” sank to a season-low 2.2 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

Based on Nielsen overnights, the series was off 12% from its most recent installment Nov. 11. Elsewhere on ABC, “Once Upon a Time” was up 11% to a 3.0 and “666 Park Avenue” was even with a 1.2, while “America’s Funniest Home Videos” held steady with a 1.6.

Easily winning the night was NBC, which averaged a 5.5 in 18-49 for prime time, followed by Fox (3.7 average), CBS (2.1) and ABC (2.0). NBC also won total viewers, averaging 15.3 million for prime time, ahead of CBS (10.5 million), Fox (9.2 million) and ABC (6.5 million).

NBC’s coverage of the Packers-Giants NFL game delivered a 6.7 average rating in the 18-49 demo, up from a 6.0 for last week's Sunday night game.

CBS and Fox were impacted by football overruns, but CBS scored a preliminary 2.5 average rating in 18-49 for “The Amazing Race,” a 4% improvement from a week ago, and a 1.8 for “The Mentalist,” up a hefty 29%, while “The Good Wife” delivered a 1.7, even with a week ago, and “60 Minutes” turned in a 2.2, down from a 3.0.

Fox saw “The Simpsons” climb an impressive 38% from a week ago to a 3.3 average in viewers 18-49, with “Bob’s Burgers” up 11% to a 2.0, “Family Guy” up 8% to a 2.8 and “The Cleveland Show” rising 19% to a 1.9.

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Lohan's 'Liz & Dick' Delivers Modest Ratings

Lifetime’s Elizabeth Taylor biopic “Liz & Dick,” starring Lindsay Lohan as the legendary screen siren, failed to cash in on a ton of publicity for Lohan in the weeks leading up Sunday’s premiere. The Huffington Post reports that only 3.5 million viewers tuned in for the telecast.

That number compares with 6.5 million for Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias” in October. “Liz & Dick” is the fourth most-watched original movie premiere of 2012 on basic cable, behind “Steel Magnolias,” “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” and “Abducted: The Carlina White Story.”

“Liz & Dick” has not been a hit with critics, either. Click here to read why TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross calls the movie a train wreck.

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Bravo Launches Groundbreaking Interactive Ad Program

Bravo Media announced today the launch of an innovative advertising program that enables viewers to interact with live on-air content. “Play Live” debuts tonight in connection with the airing of “Watch What Happens Live” at 11 p.m. ET/PT, with other programs to be added in the months to come.

Play Live’s technology enables advertisers to create live interactive ads with functionality such as poll questions and e-coupons. Bravo plans to roll it out on a number of its most popular programs.

In its announcement, Bravo said: “To participate, each week fans can visit bravotv.com/playlive on their mobile phones, tablets, desktops or download the Bravo Now app to play with Bravolebrities, friends and other fans to make predictions on what will happen next or to voice opinions on various topics and polls. Live voting results are shown on-air, changing in real time during the broadcast as the audience reacts to what’s happening in the show.”

Lisa Hsia, Bravo’s EVP of digital, said: “Bravo fans are passionate and engaged viewers. Play Live caters to the fans by offering participation TV -- a new way to enjoy a show with other fans as the broadcast unfolds live. Best of all, it’s easy -- there’s no app to download and install. Viewers participate via URL with any device that has Internet access.”

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Mystery Swirls Around Two Maine Anchors Who Quit On-Air

Two television news anchors in Bangor, Maine, raised questions and sparked debate when they appeared on-air last Tuesday and quit at the end of the 6 p.m. news, reports The New York Times.

Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio told The Times they decided to quit on-air because "if you give your notice, you aren’t allowed on the air for fear from management that you will bad-mouth the company," according to Michaels. They told their viewers they were quitting because “some recent developments” led them to decide leaving together was "the best alternative."

The pair became stars in local newsrooms by the next morning, even through the reason for their departure was still a mystery, the piece notes. The pair worked at WVII-TV and WFVX-TV, two stations owned by Rockfleet Broadcasting.

The anchors told the newspaper that they quit to protect their journalistic independence, with Michaels, who also served as news director, pointing to general manager Mike Palmer for allegedly meddling with news coverage. She declined to give any specific examples of management clashes, according to the story.

Palmer said in an email, "There have been no examples of bias cited, none. We require both sides of issues to be presented, always.”

He added that Consiglio was about to get fired, and said Michaels decided she didn't want to continue without him, according to the report. Michaels denied Palmer's account.

The stations have previously been in the news, when in 2006 Palmer wrote an email to the stations' staff telling them to stop covering global warming. When "Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories,” he wrote at the time.

Palmer said in his email last week that he meant the stations should focus on local news, leaving national and international news to others, the story says.

Cindy-Michaels-Tony-Consiglio.jpgTony Consiglio and Cindy Michaels

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Deborah Raffin, the Mid-'70s, Early-'80s Ingenue Who Later Appeared on TV's '7th Heaven' and 'The Secret Life of the American Teenager,' Dies at 59

"Deborah Raffin, 59, an actress and entrepreneur who launched audiobook powerhouse Dove Books-on-Tape with her husband, music producer Michael Viner, has died," reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The story adds, "Raffin died Wednesday of leukemia at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, her brother William told the Los Angeles Times. She was diagnosed with ... blood cancer about a year ago, he said."

According to an entry about Raffin on Wikipedia, Raffin's "1976 television movie 'Nightmare in Badham County' became a theatrical hit in mainland China, making Raffin a star there, and leading to her later becoming the first Western actress ever to make a movie promotion tour in that country. She was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress -- Motion Picture Drama and a Razzie Award for Worst Actress for her performance in 'Touched by Love' in 1981."

She also starred in the 1975 movie "Once Is Not Enough," based on the Jacqueline Susann potboiler.

Raffin and her late husband, Michael Viner, were friends with the author of a number of other potboilers, Sidney Sheldon. According to THR, "In the mid-1980s, she and Viner -- who as a music producer had assembled the Incredible Bongo Band -- launched Dove in 1985 in the garage of their Coldwater Canyon home. Viner had won an $8,000 bet in a backgammon game with Sidney Sheldon; rather than collecting his winnings, Viner asked the author to let him publish two of his works as audiobooks.

"Dove would publish Sheldon's 'The Naked Face' and salacious titles that included 'You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again,' about prostitutes and Hollywood celebrities, and Faye Resnick's book about Nicole Brown Simpson. But it did serious fare as well, like Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time.'"

deborah-raffin.jpgDeborah Raffin

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Chevy Chase Leaving 'Community' After a Turbulent Tenure on the NBC Comedy

In what's described as a mutual agreement, actor Chevy Chase is leaving the NBC comedy "Community," reports EW.com's Inside TV.

"It’s not exactly shocking news, as Chase has endured a rocky relationship with the series that he does not always speak warmly about," the piece notes.

As previously reported, Chase has aired gripes about the show -- saying he's "not crazy" about his character -- and getting into a feud with the show's creator, Dan Harmon.

Despite his departure, Chase will appear in all but two of the show's fourth-season episodes, with the season set to premiere Feb. 7. Chase, who plays the bigoted and wealthy Pierce Hawthorne, will appear in the season finale, which has already been taped, according to the piece.

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Future of 'Dallas' Uncertain After Larry Hagman's Death

The future of TNT's reboot of "Dallas" appears to be facing some uncertainty following the death of Larry Hagman, the actor who reprised his role as Texas oil tycoon J.R. Ewing, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

Hagman, 81, died after battling cancer for the past year, as previously reported.

Hagman had finished taping several new episodes and will appear in the show's second season, which is slated to return Jan. 28, although it's not clear how the production will handle his character's departure from the show, the Times points out.

It's believed that the show's writers and producers are crafting a sendoff for the character, but it's possible the show might schedule a production hiatus to rework its scripts, notes Deadline.com. With 15 episodes scheduled for season two the situation on the production is fluid, although Hagman reportedly taped six episodes for the second season, the piece adds.

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No More Exploding Toilets? Aging Reality Series Canceled by Discovery

In what has been described as a “generational changeover,” Discovery Channel issued a cancellation notice to the eight-year-old reality series "Dirty Jobs," Deadline.com reports.

The cancellation was announced by the series' star and creator Mike Rowe in a blog post called "A Turkey Without a Pardon."

Another veteran Discovery reality show, "American Chopper," was also canceled this month, as previously reported.

"A few weeks ago, I was officially informed that ‘Dirty Jobs’ had entered into a new phase. One I like to call, ‘permanent hiatus.’ Or in the more popular industry vernacular, canceled," Rowe wrote on his blog.

He continued, "Dirty Jobs is a very personal show, and it’s difficult for me to imagine a future that does not involve exploding toilets, venomous snakes, misadventures in animal husbandry, and feces from every species."

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Brit Hit 'Downton Abbey' Renewed, But Report Says at Least One Cast Member Won't Be Back for Season Four

"Downton Abbey" has received a fourth-season renewal from British network ITV, reports TheWrap.com. However, according to the Sunday Express in the U.K., "Just as a fourth series and Christmas special were announced, it emerged that romantic lead Dan Stevens, 30, who plays Matthew Crawley, is leaving. A well-placed production source told the Sunday Express: 'Dan Stevens isn’t returning to the series. He will probably do the first episode of the fourth series, but that will be it.'

"ITV would not confirm or deny Stevens’s departure. However, it is thought he will appear in the Christmas show. The two-hour episode, described as a tearjerker, will see the Grantham family head to Scotland for a break, leaving most of the servants at home."

The article adds, "It is not clear how or when Stevens will exit the show. In the last series his character Matthew guaranteed the future of the Downton estate with a surprise inheritance. His relationship with Lady Mary, and then their marriage, has been the main plotline through the three series of Downton Abbey. His departure is seen as a major blow."

Reports AceShowBiz, "Stevens is currently starring on Broadway's play 'The Heiress' alongside Jessica Chastain. He once shared his plan to stay in New York after the show's over, saying, 'New York for me is going to be one big adventure. I will be taking the whole family out and we will be there for six months. I don't know if I will be returning to Downton.' " 

"Abbey," said to be the most successful British costume drama on television since “Brideshead Revisited” in 1981, airs on PBS in the U.S.

The new season will have eight episodes, with a fall 2013 debut planned, TheWrap reports. It will also include an extended episode for Christmas 2013. The fourth season will begin filming in February.

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Justin Bieber Knocked Out of His Spot as Most-Watched YouTube Video -- You May Be Able to Guess Who's the New No. 1

Justin Bieber no longer holds the title as the artist with the most-watched YouTube video, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The South Korean rapper Psy passed the teen singer early Saturday with 803,761,000 views for his video "Gangnam Style," the piece reports.

Bieber's video for "Baby" was previously No. 1, with 803,732,000 views, the story adds.

"Gangnam Style" had already grabbed YouTube's record for the Most Liked video ever. The song has 5.3 million "likes" and 323,000 "dislikes," while Bieber's "Baby" video has 1.4 million "likes" and 3.1 million "dislikes."

"Gangnam Style" was posted on YouTube four months ago and quickly became a pop culture phenomenon, the piece notes.

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Last Surviving Member of the Original 'I Love Lucy' Creative Team Dies at 89

The last surviving member of the original creative team behind the classic sitcom "I Love Lucy" has died, reports the Los Angeles Times. Dann Cahn, who was an editor on the show, was 89 and died of natural causes, the story reports.

Cahn pioneered the use of multicamera editing, breaking ground on "Lucy" by using a newly developed editing machine he called the "three-headed monster," the story notes.

The show used a new system with three cameras instead of one, which "allowed an episode to be filmed as though it were a stage play -- continuously and in sequence," the article notes. But the editors were overwhelmed with footage and looked to a device that had been created for "Truth or Consequences," a game show.

"It was a Moviola with four heads -- three for picture and one for sound," Cahn told Editors Guild Magazine in 2006. "When they wheeled it in, I said, 'Boy, that's some monster!' And the name stuck."

Cahn was the son of Philip Cahn, who co-founded in 1937 what's now the Motion Picture Editors Guild, the piece notes. Dann Cahn's son, also an editor, is president of the guild.

Cahn began as a child actor in movies such as "Newsboys' Home" and then worked as an assistant editor on the 1942 movie "Pittsburgh." While working on the 1951 film "The Lady Says No," Cahn was recommended by a friend for the job of editing "I Love Lucy," a post that Cahn held until the show went off the air in 1957, the story adds.

Cahn's almost 100 television and film projects include shows such as "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Police Woman."

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Syfy Drama Series Shutting Down -- But Spinoffs May Be on the Way

A drama series that airs on Syfy in the U.S. is being shut down by BBC One after five seasons on the U.K. channel, Deadline.com reports. The program is the fantasy series "Merlin."

The series, which is a retelling of the Arthurian legends, will end at its natural peak, with the end to the battle for Camelot, according to the piece. The show stars Colin Morgan and Bradley James, with John Hurt voicing a dragon.

Co-creators and executive producers Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy said they are leaving the show's producer, Shine TV, at year-end to start their own production company.

Meanwhile, Shine and FremantleMedia Enterprises are exploring developing "Merlin" spinoffs, the piece adds. Any new shows would be produced by Shine's Kudos in partnership with FME.

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Emmy-Winning 'Sesame Street' Director Dies

A “Sesame Street” director who won six Daytime Emmy Awards for directing episodes of the long-running children’s show died Nov. 21 of unknown causes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Emily Squires was 71.

Squires wrote and directed episodes of "Between the Lions," another PBS series, and earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for co-producing the 1994 children's special "All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever!," the story notes.

She also wrote for several soap operas, including "Search for Tomorrow" and "Guiding Light," the piece reports. She is survived by her husband, Len Belzer, with whom she wrote the 2000 book "Spiritual Places In and Around New York City."

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Report: Fox Nears $6 Billion to $7 Billion Deal for L.A. Dodgers TV Rights

Fox Sports is nearing a deal to pay $6 billion to $7 billion over 25 years for exclusive television rights to the Los Angeles Dodgers, reports Nikki Finke at Deadline.com.

The deal would put the team on Fox’s regional sports network in Southern California as well as on Fox Broadcasting, the story says.

An earlier agreement, which cost Fox Sports about $40 million per season for the TV rights, is set to expire at the end of next season. The new deal means the per-season price will skyrocket to $280 million per season, the piece adds.

The deal could be done by Tuesday between Fox and Guggenheim Partners, which bought the team earlier this year for $2.15 billion, the story notes.

"In the era of DVR, Hulu, Netflix and other ways to watch TV, sports viewers (overwhelmingly male) watch live and therefore don’t always skip through ads," Finke writes.

"This makes sports programming increasingly valuable. It also helps Rupert Murdoch move yet another step closer to that national sports channel, which is his long-term play to rival ESPN -- and as a result extract higher fees from cable and satellite companies."

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Sesame Workshop Struggles With Loss of Elmo Puppeteer -- a Top Creative Force on the Show

With the resignation of Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, Sesame Workshop is struggling with how to replace one of its top creative forces, reports Elizabeth Jensen in The New York Times.

As previously reported, Clash resigned last week after a new allegation surfaced that he had underage sexual relationships.

Jensen writes, "Mr. Clash, 52, was not just the man behind Elmo since 1985, he was also the PBS show’s Muppet leader, working with writers to troubleshoot technical problems. He was also an occasional director, a co-executive producer and the puppeteer behind numerous other characters besides Elmo. He traveled internationally to train puppeteers for 'Sesame Street' productions in other countries."

Sesame Workshop had no comment, the story notes.

Production of the final episodes of the 2013-14 season of "Sesame Street" went on a two-week break last week, with work scheduled to resume the week of Dec. 3. A therapist may be on hand for employees who need support, Jensen writes.

The Elmo character will continue, and the puppet was featured on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float, with another puppeteer acting to Clash's taped voice, the story adds.

The future of a new segment called "Elmo the Musical" that began in September will be determined once ratings data and research are in, but the production company hopes to continue it, the story adds.

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Larry Hagman -- J.R. Ewing on 'Dallas' -- Dies at 81

"Actor Larry Hagman, 81, whom fans for decades confused with J.R. Ewing, the conniving character he so convincingly played on TV's 'Dallas,' died Friday in the Texas city that made him a household name," USA Today reports. "Hagman had been battling cancer for the past year, having announced his diagnosis just as he began work on the soap-opera reboot for TNT."

Wrote Bill Carter in his New York Times obituary of Hagman, "When Mr. Hagman died, he was surrounded by friends and family, including his longtime co-star and confidante Linda Gray. 'He was the pied piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew,' Ms. Gray said in a statement. 'I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the fullest.'"

Carter added, "'Larry was back in his beloved hometown of Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved most,' the family said. While Mr. Hagman had been living in California, he had returned to Dallas to film a reboot of the wildly popular 'Dallas' series for the cable channel TNT."

The USA Today story said, "The second season of TNT's 'Dallas' is scheduled to premiere Jan. 28; six of the 15 episodes had been filmed at the time of his death."

Carter wrote in his Times story, "Mr. Hagman was also widely known for his role as Major Anthony Nelson -- an astronaut who is the master of a 2,000-year-old genie, played by Barbara Eden -- on another popular series, 'I Dream of Jeannie.'

"From its start in 1978, however, 'Dallas,' a multigenerational saga of a wealthy, scandal-prone oil family, dominated television audiences around the world as few series ever have. For more than 13 years, nobody was hated with more pleasure than Mr. Hagman’s unprincipled John Ross Ewing. Mr. Hagman, flashing a reptilian smile, portrayed his oilman-robber baron as, in one critic’s words, 'an overstuffed Iago in a Stetson hat.' It is estimated that at the height of its popularity, the show was seen by more than 300 million people in 57 countries."

Hagman's mother was Mary Martin, who will forever be remembered by Baby Boomers in her signature TV role as Peter Pan, which was first broadcast in 1955 on NBC to, at the time, the largest audience in the history of TV, 65 million homes.

The Times story added, "Mr. Hagman is survived by his wife of 59 years, Maj Axelsson; a son, a daughter and five granddaughters."

larry Hagman.jpg

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Thanksgiving Holiday TV Marathons -- Something for Everyone: Mini Series 'Hatfields & McCoys' Repeated, 'Friday Night Lights,' 'Friends,' Fun Bond Movies, 'Star Trek: Next Generation,' 'Secretly Pregnant,' 'Band of Brothers,' 'Spongebob,' and Lots More

It's couch potato heaven for the rest of the week with various marathons this Thanksgiving holiday.

(All times below are Eastern time. Please check your local listings to see at what times these marathons will be shown in your area.)

With the latest James Bond movie setting all kinds of box office records, Syfy is presenting its annual Bond marathon, this year featuring 15 movies. Some of the best are "Goldfinger," "Casino Royale," (with Daniel Craig), and "Live and Let Die." The fun began a few minutes ago in the Eastern time zone (Thursday, Nov. 22 at 12 a.m.).

The "Friends" marathon starts at 11 a.m. on Thursday on TBS.

History channel will show its complete hit miniseries "Hatfileds & McCoys" starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Episodes of "Secretly Pregnant" will be shown in a marathon starting Thursday at 2 p.m. on Discovery Fit & Health.

Cult-favorite "Friday Night Lights" can be seen on ESPN's Classic channel starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Episodes from "Band of Brothers," the award-winning series about World War II, can be seen on Spike starting on Friday at 9 a.m.

A "Spongebob Squarepants" marathon starts on Nickelodeon at 9 a.m. on Friday.

And fans of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" can see a season 7 marathon on BBC America starting at noon on Thursday.

The most complete list of marathons and other goodies on TV for the next four days can be found at TV Tango.

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Elmo Puppeteer Resigns From 'Sesame Street' Amid Growing Sex Abuse Scandal

The puppeteer and voice of Elmo on “Sesame Street,” Kevin Clash, has resigned from the show amid a new allegation he had underage sexual relationships, reports The New York Times' Media Decoder.

Clash said he was resigning with a "very heavy heart," adding: “Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work ‘Sesame Street’ is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer."

His statement was issued at about the same time a lawsuit was filed alleging he had "sexual activity" with a 15-year-old, the story says. The accuser, Cecil Singleton, is now 24 and is seeking $5 million in damages. Clash didn't have a comment on the lawsuit.

The latest allegation comes after he was accused last week of an underage relationship with a man who later recanted his story.

How the claims impact "Sesame Street" remains to be seen, the story notes. Hasbro, the chief toy licensee for "Sesame Street" products, said it is "confident that Elmo will remain an integral part of ‘Sesame Street’ and that ‘Sesame Street’ toys will continue to delight children for years to come.”

Sesame Workshop, which produces "Sesame Street," declined interview requests, but said in a statement that it was "a sad day for ‘Sesame Street.’”

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'Modern Family' Star Suffered Emotional Abuse, According to Children's Services

A report from the Department of Children and Family Services found evidence "Modern Family" star Ariel Winter, 14, suffered emotional abuse from her mother, reports People.com.

A judge ruled Tuesday that Winter is to remain in the care of her adult sister, Shanelle Gray. The report recommended Gray be given permanent guardianship of her sister, although a trial date will be set to determine that, the piece adds.

The report also found that allegations of physical abuse were "unsubstantiated," the piece adds.

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Fox News Host Under Fire for Remarks About Female Colleagues

A Fox News host is coming under fire for comments about female colleagues on the network, after he described them as "Victoria's Secret" models who "went to college," reports PRNewser.com.

Brian Kilmeade made the statement on his radio show, when he gave Fox News anchor Alisyn Camerota what the article calls "a rather sexist compliment."

With Camerota making an appearance on Kilmeade’s show, a caller commented: "Well you and all the women of Fox, I don’t know who was the scout that got you guys, but they rock." Camerota laughed off the comment, but then Kilmeade chimed in.

"It was actually, we go into the Victoria’s Secret catalog and we said, ‘Can any of these people talk?’ And they all could and they all went to college," Kilmeade said.

According to the piece, it's not the first time Kilmeade has made offensive comments about women. In June, he caused "Fox and Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson to walk off the set when he said, "Women are everywhere. … It’s out of control," the piece notes.

"We’re rather disappointed that Alisyn Camerota didn’t have an equally outraged reaction to the implication that talent scouts discovered her splayed half-naked in a lingerie catalog -- and that the small matter of whether she was educated or could even speak was only an afterthought," the article says. "Instead, she simply laughed uncomfortably and told Kilmeade in a playful tone that he was 'crazy.’"

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Fourth Season for 'Downton Abbey'? Team Behind the Show Offers Its Opinions

"Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes expressed optimism that the show will receive a fourth-season order, noting he thought it would be "pretty odd" if it didn't, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Fellowes was asked about a fourth season during an event called "Downton Abbey: Behind the Scenes with Julian Fellowes and Company." While a fourth season hasn't yet been ordered, executive producer Gareth Neame said he hoped "to have some news in a few days."

The show recently aired its third season in the U.K. and earned its biggest audience yet, the piece adds.

Spoiler alert ... Asked whether Maggie Smith's character, Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, would die in a Christmas special, Fellowes said that while he doesn't like to give away storylines, "The dowager is not going to die." His response to the question received "much applause," the story adds.

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TVWeek Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule

TVWeek will have a special publishing schedule over the holiday weekend, starting today, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. We are publishing our morning TVBizWire e-newsletter today and the Daily Viral Video but will not publish the afternoon E-Daily newsletter.

We’re taking off Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22-23. All three newsletters will return Monday, Nov. 26, as we resume our normal publishing schedule.

As always, if news breaks we'll send out a TVWeek Extra Alert.

From all of us at the TVWeek family, enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday!

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Exciting Non-TV News: Report Says Screenwriter of Two of the Original Classic 'Star Wars' Movies, 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi,' May Pen One of the Upcoming 'Star Wars' Movies (He Also Wrote 'Raiders of the Lost Ark')

Exciting news for fans of the most popular movie franchise in history, "Star Wars."

According to our friend Mike Fleming Jr. at Deadline.com, Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the screenplays of two of the first three "Star Wars" movies --  as well as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" -- has been "approached" to work on one of the new "Star Wars" movies that Disney will make.

According to the story, "Here’s some tantalizing dish to chew on before the Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings. After hiring Michael Arndt to script the first installment of the relaunch of George Lucas’ 'Star Wars' franchise, I’ve heard Disney has approached Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg and I believe it is to get the ball rolling on the subsequent installments mapped out by Lucas.

"Kasdan scripted two of the original 'Star Wars' films in the 1980 'The Empire Strikes Back' and the 1983 follow-up 'Return of the Jedi.' He also scripted 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' for Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Kinberg’s franchise work: 'X-Men: First Class,' 'Sherlock Holmes' and the upcoming 'X-Men: Days of Future Past,' which Bryan Singer will direct."

Fleming adds, "Disney’s $4 billion buy of George Lucas’ signature franchise certainly has stirred up passions from fans. I’m still feeling so let down by the last three films that I am not sure they can bring back the magic of the original trilogy, which was so groundbreaking for its time. But that time seems like a galaxy so far far away."

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'Simpsons' Episode Written by Judd Apatow More Than Two Decades Ago Will Finally Get Made

"The Simpsons" plans to make an episode written by writer and director Judd Apatow, who revealed in a Web interview that he wrote a script for the show while trying to break into Hollywood more than two decades ago, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

After mentioning his spec script, the show's producers contacted him about making the episode, the story notes. In Apatow's script, which he wrote soon after the program debuted, Homer is hypnotized into thinking he's Bart's age and the pair become best friends.

"I thought, ‘Well, we’re always looking for good shows and good writers,’” said “Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean. “I sent word to him: ‘If you’re interested, we’ll buy it.’ I think he had to find it -- it was in one of his boxes.”

Jean added, “For people who want to know how to write a freelance 'Simpsons' episode: Just do it, then have a megamilliondollar movie career and we’ll buy the spec.”

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NBC in Talks with Hugh Laurie to Star in Pirate Drama

NBC is in discussions with “House” star Hugh Laurie to star in a pirate drama series called "Crossbones," which comes from "Luther" creator Neil Cross, reports Deadline.com.

Unlike "House," in which Laurie played an American, the actor would use his native British accent in the role of Blackbeard, the English pirate, the story adds.

The 10-episode series is set in 1715 and tracks Blackbeard as he rules over an island populated by thieves and outlaws, the story notes.

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Who's on Barbara Walters' 'Most Fascinating People' List for This Year?

ABC News’ Barbara Walters offered a preview of her upcoming annual special “Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The program is scheduled to air Dec. 12.

Among the celebrities on this year’s list: actor Ben Affleck, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, Olympian Gabby Douglas, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and "Fifty Shades of Grey" author EL James. As has been Walters’ tradition, she stopped short of revealing the complete list, including keeping her pick for No. 1 a secret.

The upcoming edition will the the 20th annual installment of Walters’ special.

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Former Model on 'Price Is Right' Wins $777,000 in Lawsuit Against the Show

A former model on 'The Price Is Right" has won almost $777,000 in damages after suing the show's producers on claims she was discriminated against because of her pregnancy, reports the Associated Press.

Brandi Cochran, 41, said the game show's producers rejected her after she sought to return to the show in 2010 following maternity leave. A jury determined she wasn't rehired because of her pregnancy and awarded her $776,944 in the lawsuit against FremantleMedia North America and The Price Is Right Productions, the piece says.

FremantleMedia said it expects to be "fully vindicated" after an appeal. The producers have said that when Cochran sought to return they were satisfied with the show's five models, the piece adds.

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ABC Buys Comedy From 'Little Fockers' Writer

"Little Fockers" co-writer Larry Stuckey has sold a comedy project to ABC, based on his relationship with his brother, reports Deadline.com.

The project focuses on Gary Stuckey, whose charismatic younger brother starts to impact his wife and kids after opening a restaurant in their hometown, the story notes. The show comes to ABC via Television 360, marking its fifth sale this development season.

Other Television 360 projects include "Wendy & Peter" at Fox and "I Am Victor" at NBC, the story notes.

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'Entourage' Producers Developing Pot Legalization Comedy for Fox

"Entourage" executive producers Rob Weiss, Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson have a pot legalization comedy in development at Fox, reports Deadline.com.

The project will focus on a young corporate attorney who quits his job after a nervous breakdown and moves to Venice Beach, in the process becoming the voice for the legalization movement, the story notes. The project will be produced by 20th Century Fox TV, while Weiss will co-write the script with Jay Leggett and Blake Leibel.

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'The Office' Stars to Reunite on Fox Show

"The Office" star Ellie Kemper will reunite with her former colleague Mindy Kaling on Kaling's new Fox comedy, "The Mindy Project," reports TVLine.com.

It's not clear who Kemper will play, but she will appear in a guest-starring role in the show's Christmas episode, which will air Dec. 11.

Separately, "The Mindy Project" is shuffling its cast, with regular Amanda Setton leaving the show and Anna Camp promoted to recurring, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Camp co-starred in the pilot as Kaling's best friend, while Setton portrayed a receptionist. Setton is said to be leaving for creative reasons, the piece adds.

The show is also casting a new recurring female character, a college friend of Mindy's.

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Starz Pulls Plug on Drama Series

Pay-cable channel Starz has made the decision to pull the plug on a drama series, USA Today reports. The series is “Boss,” which stars Kelsey Grammer as a ruthless Chicago mayor dealing with a brain ailment and struggling to remain in power.

The show, which wrapped up its 10-episode second season last month, won’t be picked up for a third season, the story reports.

In a statement, Starz announced: "After much deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to not proceed with ‘Boss.’ We remain proud of this award-winning show, its exceptional cast and writers and are grateful to Kelsey Grammer, (creator) Farhad Safinia and our partners at Lionsgate TV."

The report notes that a two-hour final episode has been discussed, but no deal has been made.

“In an August interview, Grammer said the series ideally would take five or six seasons to play out, but that the show would try to adjust if the allotted time were shorter,” the piece adds.

Grammer won a Golden Globe for his performance in the show’s first season.

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Syndicated Talk Shows Surge

Syndicated talk shows are having a strong November sweeps period, according to national syndication ratings for the week ending Nov. 11, which were released today. The date marks approximately the midway point in the sweeps period.

Because of Hurricane Sandy, Nielsen did not release national weekly ratings for syndicated programs for the previous week.

“Dr. Phil” led the pack with a 3.2 household rating for the week -- placing No. 1 for the eighth week in a row. The show was up 7% from the week ending Oct. 28. “Dr. Phil” also rose 12% in the key demo of women 25-54 to claim first place with a 1.9 average rating.

“Live with Kelly & Michael” had a 2.8 household number, up 12% from two weeks ago and matching the season high set in the show’s premiere week when Michael Strahan was revealed as Kelly Ripa’s new co-host.

“Ellen’ hit a 2.6, up 8%, the best number yet for her 10th season. “Dr. Oz” was close behind with a new season high of 2.5, up 9%. “Maury” posted the sharpest improvement of any talk show in the top 10, rising 14% to a 2.4. “Maury” also led the way in both women 18-49 (1.6) and women 18-34 (1.4).

Among new talk shows, “Katie” (1.8, down 5%) easily led the pack for the ninth straight week. “Steve Harvey” (1.3, up 8%) posted the most improvement among the rookie shows. Trailing were “Jeff Probst” (0.7, steady), “Ricki Lake” (0.7, steady) and “Trisha” (0.5, steady).

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NBC Wins Its First November Sweeps in Nine Years

NBC announced that its prime-time lineup has delivered the network’s first November sweeps win since 2003 in the key demo of adults 18-49. The network went from No. 4 in sweeps a year ago to No. 1 this year, based on Nielsen “live plus same day” data.

The announcement was made with 25 of 28 nights of sweeps completed -- through Nov. 18. NBC rose 17% in the demo from a year ago, while all three of the other big four networks were down.

NBC is averaging a 2.8 rating during the period, up from a 2.4 a year ago. In second place is CBS with a 2.4 average, down 14% from a 2.8 last year. Fox is in third with a 2.3, down 26% from last year’s 3.1, and ABC is in fourth with a 2.2, down 12% from a 2.5.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” ranks as the top-rated prime-time series on the big four networks with a 7.6 average rating during the period in 18-49. The network also boasts the top unscripted series in “The Voice,” which is averaging a 4.5 with its Monday edition; the top-rated new drama -- “Revolution” (2.8) -- and the top-rated new comedy in “Go On” (2.2).

NBC is also the only network to show an improvement from a year ago in total viewers, but its number is only good enough for third place. Leading the way is CBS with an average during the period of 10.281 million, down 10% from a year earlier, followed by ABC with 7.927 million, down 15%; NBC with 7.917 million, up 15%; and Fox with 6.522 million, down 25%.

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News Corp. Acquires Stake in YES Network

News Corp. announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with Yankee Global Enterprises to acquire a 49% stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES).

The YES Network also announced a deal that will keep New York Yankees baseball games on the network through 2042. The YES Network delivers exclusive live local coverage of the Yankees and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, along with other sports programming.

The announcement was expected, as we reported last week. YES is valued at about $3 billion.

Click here to see the full announcement from News Corp.

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Video: Classic Johnny Carson Interviews With Hollywood Legends Return to Television

Vintage interviews by Johnny Carson with Hollywood legends from the archives of NBC’s “Tonight Show” will return to television next year, TCM announced.

The cable channel is unveiling “Carson on TCM,” a showcase of interviews from Carson’s long run as King of Late-Night. TCM licensed 50 interviews from the Carson Entertainment Group archives, including many that have not aired since they first premiered.

The channel will begin televising the material in summer 2013.

Among the subjects are Hollywood legends such as Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, William Holden, Elizabeth Taylor and Gregory Peck, comics including Chevy Chase, Mel Brooks and Robin Williams, and an interview with 7-year-old Drew Barrymore.

Here’s a preview clip:

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Turkey Be Damned, Say a Quarter of People in Survey: Just Get Me to Walmart on Time on Thanksgiving Day

Looks like some people are not too troubled that Black Friday is creeping into Thanksgiving Thursday.

"New data from Deloitte shows that 23% of people plan to shop in stores on Thanksgiving Day, an increase from 17% in last year’s survey. And more than one-quarter will shop online, reports MediaPost, adding that "The consultancy fielded its survey last week, and included 1,000 adults."

The story notes, "Maybe we don’t like our families as much as we think we do. Even as activist groups collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to ask Walmart and Target to reconsider plans to open on Thanksgiving, many consumers seem fine with leaving the dishes in the sink and heading straight for the mall."

According to the article, " 'The retailer will stay closed on Thanksgiving under only one condition -- the consumer stays home to watch football instead,” writes Marshal Cohen [an analyst with the NPD Group]. “This is an experiment that has become contagious, and most retailers want to find out if it works.”

The story adds, "Meanwhile, a Target employee has collected more than 350,000 signatures on a petition asking Target to close on Thanksgiving, and a similar petition for Walmart has collected some 30,000 names. Change.org says activists on its sites have started some 130 such petitions."

TVWeek has also seen at least one suggestion that retailers move Black Friday to the Friday before Thanksgiving, thus avoiding any conflict with the holiday.

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ABC Executives Call Out 'GMA' Co-Anchor Over 'Passive-Aggressive' Antics, Clashes With Show's Staffers

Top ABC executives stepped in to try to put an end to conflicts on the set stemming from the “passive-aggressive” behavior of co-anchor Josh Elliott at “Good Morning America,” according to inside sources cited by the New York Post.

A top producer reportedly had a sit-down with Elliott after he lashed out at the crew expressing frustration about scripts. The meeting comes after reports that Elliott has allegedly yelled at staffers and writers, saying things like, "Who the [bleep] wrote this?"

One “GMA” insider is quoted as saying: “He’s being gossiped about in the media, and Josh is lashing out in a passive-aggressive way. They’re concerned about his behavior and trying to come up with a game plan. He’s a popular anchor, and they want to stop the gossip and focus on developing his talent.”

When similar complaints surfaced a few months ago, "GMA" producer Tom Cibrowski denied the reports and called Elliott "the ultimate team player," according to the story.

josh-elliott.jpgJosh Elliott

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Change Affecting Your Facebook Account: If 'Speed, Speed and More Speed' Is Your Mantra, You May Not Like This -- Facebook Is About to Become Slower

Now, in this world where the mantra for many Web users is "Speed, Speed and More Speed," why would megasite Facebook institute a policy that will slow down its pages?

The tradeoff is security, reports TechCrunch.

According to the article, it's got to do with Facebook rolling out a security system called HTTPS for all of its users.

Says TechCrunch, "[P]rotecting people who use the default settings is why this is an admirable decision by Facebook. Its priority is security. It might not be as sexy as blazing speed, but a hacked user is an unhappy user. Lots of people access Facebook from public wi-fi and public computers. Persistent HTTPS makes sure they’re not getting snooped on.

"Facebook could have kept HTTPS as opt-in. Faster browsing leads to less frustration, longer session lengths, and more ad views. Unfortunately, the people who are the least security savvy and therefore most vulnerable are probably the least likely to voluntarily enable HTTPS."

The story adds: "People who aren't too concerned with their security might not be too excited about getting switched to HTTPS. And if they insist their connection is secure and want to browse Facebook as fast as possible, the company confirmed to me that they’ll have the option to opt out of HTTPS through their Account Security settings."

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Report: Lindsay Lohan to Have Probation Revoked by Judge

Lindsay Lohan will have her probation revoked by a judge after she's charged with the criminal offense of lying to a police officer, reports TMZ.com. The criminal case is expected to be filed soon.

As previously reported, Lohan allegedly told police she wasn't driving a Porsche last summer when it collided with an 18-wheeler, while multiple witnesses said she was.

After the Santa Monica City Attorney files the criminal charge against Lohan, the case will go to arraignment with L.A. County Superior Court Judge Jane Godfrey, who is expected to revoke her probation. The judge will set a full hearing on grounds she violated her probation in the jewelry theft case by breaking the law, the story adds.

The judge who heard Lohan’s jewelry theft case, Stephanie Sautner, reportedly will not be involved in the new case.

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Spinoff of ABC Prime-Time Show in the Works

A spinoff is in the works at ABC for one of the network’s prime-time series, TVNewser.com reports. The new series will be a variation on "What Would You Do?"

According to a casting notice, the new program will "investigate and explore human psychology and behavior. The casting process will be a fascinating opportunity for those who attend to learn about themselves and their fellow human beings."

"WWYD?" has hit upon some success at ABC as a limited prime-time show, filling in when it's needed. It's also proved profitable for ABC, with the network selling reruns to HLN.

The new show, which is being produced by ABC News, could be added to ABC's prime-time schedule or sold to another network, such as HLN. It is unclear who will host or which route the show will take, the story notes.

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Sorting Out the TV Guide Brand: Lionsgate Close to Sale of TVGuide.com, Rebrand for TV Guide Network

Lionsgate is close to a sale of TVGuide.com, with the site expected to go for a figure in the neighborhood of $20 million to $25 million, reports Deadline.com.

Meanwhile, Variety reports that the company is working on rebranding its TV Guide Network.

“The network filed a trademark request for the title TVGN in September, according to public records,” Variety reports. “That could become the name of the new channel as Lionsgate seeks to avoid the confusion that has already enveloped the brand, which is still available as a print magazine published by a separate owner, Open Gate Capital.”

The potential buyer for the website isn't named in the Deadline story, which reports that it's a company that sees TVGuide.com as a strategic acquisition and the buyer is not a private-equity company seeking a quick profit. Variety notes that a separate report named Yahoo as a possible buyer, with a rep for Lionsgate declining to comment on the subject.

Talks could still fall apart, the Deadline piece notes. Lionsgate bought the TV Guide Network and the website in February 2009 for $241.6 million. Lionsgate currently holds a 51% stake in the TV channel, with the remainder held by JPMorgan Chase’s One Equity Partners, Variety notes.

Variety notes that Lionsgate made an attempt to sell the TV channel earlier this year, when Discovery Networks and CBS Corp. reportedly showed some initial interest.

The Variety report adds: “New branding may not only help avoid consumer confusion but give the TV network a fresh identity as it struggles to carve out a distinct niche in the crowded cable field without any standout original programming. The network has yet to get much traction beyond modest followings for second-year series ‘Standup in Stilettos’ and ‘Nail Files.’"

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Four Months After Death, 'Jeffersons' Star to Have Funeral

Almost four months after his death, "The Jeffersons" star Sherman Hemsley will be laid to rest, reports TheWrap.com.

Hemsley, who played George Jefferson on "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," will have a public funeral Wednesday in El Paso, Texas, where he died of lung cancer in July at age 74.

His burial was delayed by a dispute over his estate, with a Philadelphia resident claiming to be his brother. Hemsley had named a longtime friend, Flora Enchinton Bernal, as his heir.

Hemsley will be buried in El Paso, the report notes.

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'CSI' Producer Developing New Drama for CBS

"CSI" producer Carol Mendelsohn is developing a new drama for CBS, marking her third sale this development season, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

Mendelsohn, who is also the showrunner for "CSI," is adapting the book "Here If You Need Me," a memoir about a woman who becomes a minister after she's widowed. CBS has given a script commitment to the project.

The book's author, Kate Braestrup, will serve as an executive consultant, while the book will be adapted by "Jury Duty" writer Neil Tolkin. Mendelsohn also has "Second Sight" in development at CBS and "Jane Whitefield" at the CW.

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Liberty Chairman John Malone: 'Consumer Is Getting Squeezed' by Escalating Sports Costs

Sports programming costs are out of control, Liberty Media Chairman John Malone tells the Los Angeles Times' Company Town blog.

"We’ve got runaway sports rights, runaway sports salaries and what is essentially a high tax on a lot of households that don’t have a lot of interest in sports," Malone said. "The consumer is really getting squeezed, as is the cable operator."

Some estimates peg sports programming as accounting for half of a typical pay-TV bill, the story notes.

Malone said he believes regulators or Congress should step in.

"The only way it is going to change in the short run is for government to intervene," he said. He added that one solution would be for expensive services such as ESPN to be sold on an a la carte basis.

ESPN costs more than $5 per subscriber, according to SNL Kagan.

Technology might also help, Malone said. Services such as Netflix and Hulu will add to their content, giving consumers more choices beyond pay TV. "People will watch and pay for what they want -- it is kind of inevitable," he said. "I can’t forecast the future but usually markets have a way of correcting themselves."

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NBC Buys Family Comedy Script

NBC has bought a comedy script about a broken family from newcomers Jessie Miller and Bennett Wolin, marking the first sale for the pair, who are former writers' assistants, reports Deadline.com.

The script for “The Messed Uptons” was bought via 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Imagine TV, with Stacy Traub of "Glee" slated to executive produce the project, the piece notes.

The project tracks a 33-year-old named Jenn Upton, who realizes she's the glue that keeps her broken family together, the story adds.

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Disney Giving Up on Its Movies Online Service

Disney is shuttering its Disney Movies Online service after the site failed to catch on with consumers, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The site allowed consumers to buy or rent digital versions of Disney and Pixar movies to view on their computers, but the site was hampered by limitations. For instance, movies could only be viewed via a Web browser and couldn't be downloaded for playback, the story adds.

"Disney Movies Online does not have the flexibility that many users today demand," the company said in a statement. "We made a business decision to close the service until we are able to provide the greatest value and experience to our customers."

The service will shut down Dec. 31.

Disney is working on another service called Disney Movies Anywhere, but a debut date hasn't been announced.

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Lifetime Orders Series About Lingerie Boutique

A reality series about a lingerie boutique in Atlanta has been ordered by Lifetime, reports B&C

"Double Divas" will track the owners of LiviRae Lingerie, best friends Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Richards, the story says. The show will debut on Jan. 10 with two back-to-back episodes.

NorthSouth Productions is producing the series.

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Pushed by Judge, Hostess and Union Agree to Mediation

In what The New York Times calls a "last-ditch effort to avoid winding down Hostess," the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread agreed to mediation with one of its biggest unions at the behest of a bankruptcy judge.

Hostess and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, which represents 5,600 workers, will sit down today to try to reach a labor agreement.

If the talks succeed, Hostess could avoid liquidation and save 18,500 jobs; if not, it's likely Hostess will auction off its brands and the workers' fates will be unknown, the piece notes.

Potential buyers are already waiting, the story adds. Flowers Foods said Monday it revised its bank lending agreements to allow it to borrow up to $700 million. A representative for Flowers didn't return a call seeking comment.

Grupo Bimbo, which owns parts of Entenmann's and other bakeries, made a $540 million bid during Hostess' previous bankruptcy, but later withdrew the bid. Because of antitrust issues, Grupo Bimbo may be more likely to buy pieces, the story points out.

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Lorne Michaels Producing New NBC Sitcom Starring 'SNL' Regular

Longtime “Saturday Night Live” guru Lorne Michaels is producing a new comedy series for NBC that will star an “SNL” regular, Deadline.com reports.

The untitled sitcom is a vehicle for Kenan Thompson, who made his mark in comedy series on Nickelodeon -- “All That” and the spinoff “Kenan & Kel” -- before landing what turned out to be a longtime spot on “SNL.” Known for his impersonations of Al Sharpton, Bill Cosby and Whoopi Goldberg, Thompson has been with the sketch comedy show for the past 10 seasons.

The new sitcom, which has a script commitment from NBC, is a family comedy with Thompson playing a man who moves in with his in-laws, the piece notes, adding: “Another member of the ‘SNL’ team, writer Bryan Tucker, is writing the script and will executive produce with Thompson, Michaels and Andrew Singer (‘30 Rock’).”

Michaels has been using “SNL” personnel to feed NBC’s comedy pipeline for some time, and currently executive produces both Tina Fey’s “30 Rock” and Maya Rudolph’s “Up All Night.” “30 Rock” is wrapping up after this season.

Kenan-Thompson.jpgKenan Thompson

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Actress Airs Her CBS Dirty Laundry on Fox News

An actress who was written out of her role on a CBS drama series outlined her problems with the powers-that-be during an interview with Fox News' Arthel Neville, reports Deadline.com.

Jennifer Esposito, who has been diagnosed with Celiac disease, lost her role on CBS's "Blue Bloods" because of her health condition, as previously reported. She told Neville on "Fox Files": “What happened was ugliness.”

Esposito’s doctor advised the actress to reduce her work load. But rather than work with her, Esposito says, CBS TV Studios shelved her.

She explained on-air: "Last week I believe I was told I was on suspension, which meant I am still in contract, not being paid, because that’s suspension and they illegally stopped paying. And I am not able to work on any other TV show, on network. I can do a film or a Broadway or something on cable that doesn’t go in the ten o’clock time slot. So they kept me in my contract without pay and yes it’s completely illegal but they also knew that I didn’t have the money or the means to sue them. I have been in the business for 20 years; there [have] been so many [examples] of injustice that happens in this business. It’s what you sign up for; it is what it is. This, though, is something that is not about me, I feel. This is about a disease that people don’t understand. And what went on after, it makes me sick."

The producers of "Blue Bloods" contend that they could not accommodate Esposito shifting from full time to part time. CBS has left the door open for Esposito to return as Det. Jackie Curatola.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for jennifer-esposito.jpgJennifer Esposito

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Disney Telecast Sets Records in Children's Demos -- And There's More on the Way

The new top-rated cable telecast of 2012 in a number of children’s demos is the premiere of a Disney Jr. animated special Sunday night on the Disney Channel.

Deadline.com reports that “Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess” brought 5.2 million total viewers to the channel, setting high marks for the year in children 2-5 (1.5 million viewers, 9.1 average rating) and girls 2-5 (954,000, 12.2).

The movie represents the launch of a “Sofia the First” series, with a January premiere date anticipated for the series.

The program was the top cable telecast in five years in children 2.5, since “SpongeBob Atlantis Pantis” on Nov. 12, 2007, and in more than 10 years in girls 2-5, since “Oswald” on May 6, 2002, the report notes.

“It now stands as Disney Channel’s No.1 telecast ever among girls 2-5, its No.2 telecast among kids 2-5 (behind ‘High School Musical 2’) and its No.1 preschool telecast ever in total viewers, adults 18-49 and women 18-49,” Deadline reports. “The movie averaged more than 3.0 million kids 2-11 and more than 1.4 million adults 18-49.”

“Created for kids ages 2-7, the movie introduces Sofia, an average girl whose life suddenly transforms when her mother marries the king of Enchancia and she becomes a princess,” the piece reports. “The film drew complaints from Hispanic groups over the Caucasian look of the title character vs. her alleged Latin heritage.”

Sofia_the_First.jpg

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Sunday Ratings: ABC Continues Its Losing Streak With Awards Shows

ABC continues to strike sour notes with its awards show telecasts, based on Nielsen overnights for Sunday night. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the “American Music Awards” delivered a 3.4 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, down significantly from the 4.3 recorded for the broadcast a year ago and an all-time low for the “AMAs.”

The broadcast’s 9.47 million average in total viewers was also an all-time low.

The poor performance continued a recent trend in awards shows for ABC, following a poor performance by the “Country Music Awards” earlier this month. That Nov. 1 broadcast delivered a preliminary 3.8 average rating in viewers 18-49, down 21% from last year, with 13.6 million total viewers, down 17% -- setting historic lows in both measures.

Unlike Nov. 1, when ABC was able to win the night despite the poor performance of the “CMAs,” ABC came up short in the ratings last night. NBC won prime time overall with a 4.9 average in the 18-49 demo, followed by CBS (3.0 average), ABC (2.9) and Fox (2.0). NBC claimed a narrow win in total viewers, averaging 13.3 million to 12.6 million for CBS, 9.0 million for ABC and 4.2 million for Fox.

The report notes that CBS’s numbers will be subject to considerable adjustment due to football overruns delaying the start times of prime-time programming.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was down significantly from a week earlier, settling for a preliminary 6.0 average rating in the 18-49 demo, down from last week’s 7.9.

Fox’s animation lineup was mostly down from a week ago: “The Simpsons” dropped seven-tenths of a ratings point to a 2.5; “Bob’s Burgers” fell six-tenths to a 1.8; and “Family Guy” slipped two-tenths to a 2.5. Breaking the trend was “American Dad,” which improved two-tenths to a 2.0.

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Kim Kardashian Gets Death Threats Over Her Position on Mideast Conflict

Twitter blew up all over Kim Kardashian after she tweeted Friday that she was "praying for everyone in Israel,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The star of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" received unpleasant responses from many of her 17 million followers, including anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic tweets along with some death threats.

Kardashian, who is of Armenian ancestry, was called a disgrace to her ancestors. She tried to rectify matters by tweeting again, offering good wishes to Palestine, too. It didn't help and she eventually removed both tweets.

The incident continued to generate buzz, with conservative bloggers among those sounding off, the report notes.

Kardashian later commented on the controversy on her blog, writing: "I decided to take down the tweets because I realized that some people were offended and hurt by what I said, and for that I apologize."

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ABC Cancels Two Drama Series

ABC has canceled two drama series, B&C reports. The network will burn off the remaining episodes of freshman shows "Last Resort" and "666 Park Avenue," but will not place back orders for complete seasons.

Both series struggled to build an audience after debuting with modest numbers, the piece notes. "Last Resort" was scheduled at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, which has proved to be a difficult timeslot for ABC. In previous seasons the network has tried "Charlie's Angels" and "My Generation" in the slot, ultimately canceling those series as well.

"666 Park Avenue" was up against NFL football on Sunday nights, and its most recent episode matched the series low with a 1.3 average rating in the key 18-49 demo.

Both shows will air their remaining episodes in their initial 13-episode orders.

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Game Changer: CBS Chairman Les Moonves Says About TV: 'This Year Has Been the Tipping Point We've Been Expecting'

Speaking about the current TV season, Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS Corp., which owns CBS, Showtime and 50% of The CW, says, "This year has really sort of been the tipping point that we've been expecting," reports our good friend Gary Levin in a cover story in USA Today.

What Moonves is referring to, according to the article, is that "This fall, 38% of young-adult prime-time viewing on the major networks (and 23% of all viewing) consists of previously recorded shows, Nielsen says. That's up from nearly zero a decade ago."

Moonves also told Levin, "Increasingly, 'overnight ratings don't mean anything.' "

Adds Levin, "It's not just DVRs, now in 46% of homes, that are upsetting TV's ecosystem. The dying DVD business has been replaced by a host of new options."

Levin says these options include free streaming of programming, online purchases of programming and mobile viewing of programming.

The article also notes: "Nearly two months into the new TV season, ratings for three of the four big networks are down 10% to 30% from last fall, and off-channel viewership is only one reason. The crop of new series just hasn't excited viewers, and there's stronger competition from cable ...

"One cause for alarm is that overall TV usage by young adults ages 18 to 24 is down 9% since this time last year, more than any other age bracket. That group is most likely to watch elsewhere, a habit fueled by TV studios' sales of their content to online destinations."

Levin also quotes Tim Spengler, CEO at New York ad firm Magna Global: "Everything is being disrupted by technology. Television is very effective for advertisers, (but) we just can't rely on it to do the whole job the way we used to. What advertisers are forced to do is look at a much more diverse mix of media, and 'the younger the target audience, the more diverse the mix needs to be.' "

We urge you to click on the link above to read all of Levin's excellent article and analysis.

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Discovery Ends Show After 10-Year Run

A series that has been on the air for 10 years -- and is credited with launching a genre -- has come to the end of its run, B&C reports.

The show is "American Chopper," which started the genre of family docu-soap reality shows, the piece reports. The show followed Paul "Senior" Teutul and his son Paul "Junior" Teutul as they built motorcycles and got into fights at Orange County Choppers.

The show was canceled once before, when in 2010 it was pulled by TLC. The network later revived the series, and halfway through that season it moved back to Discovery, where it first aired, the story notes.

"Chopper" will end its run with a special called "Chopper Live: The Revenge," which will air Dec. 11 at 9 p.m.

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CBS Names Chief White House Correspondent

In an announcement made by Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation," CBS has named a new chief White House correspondent, reports TVNewser.com. Former Fox News Channel fixture Major Garrett was picked for the job.

Garrett, who left Fox News two years ago for National Journal, replaces Norah O'Donnell, who left the job when she joined "CBS This Morning" as co-host in September. Garrett starts at CBS News on Sunday.

Garrett was the senior White House correspondent for Fox News, including covering the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

major-garrett.jpgMajor Garrett

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Rupert Murdoch Accused of Anti-Semitism

Rupert Murdoch is facing criticism that he issued an anti-Semitic message after he wrote in a tweet that the "Jewish-owned press" is favoring Hamas over Israel in news coverage of the Gaza conflict, reports The New York Times' Media Decoder.

According to the story, Murdoch's tweet read, "Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?"

The article continues, "Twttter users and others instantly unleashed criticism calling Mr. Murdoch’s message anti-Semitic. Other Twitter users implied that the comment could taint coverage in Mr. Murdoch’s own newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London, which are reporting on the continuing Israel-Hamas conflict."

For example, the Media Decoder links to a story in the Daily Beast by Peter Bainart titled "Rupert Murdoch’s Offensive Tweet About the ‘Jewish Owned’ Press."

Bainart wrote that Murdoch's tweek is "offensive to journalists because it implies that institutions of the 'press' should reflect the ideological biases of their owners. Reading Murdoch’s tweet, it would be logical to conclude that he believes that any newspaper he owns should reflect his right-wing views, even in its news coverage. ... Murdoch’s tweet is offensive to Jews because he’s suggesting that when it comes to Israel, Jewish media-owners should let their Jewishness guide their journalism."

After the storm of criticism Murdoch tweeted, " 'Jewish owned press' have been sternly criticised, suggesting link to Jewish reporters. Don't see this, but apologise unreservedly."

To which one follower of Murdoch then tweeted, "@rupertmurdoch if you 'don't see' the criticism how on God's earth can you genuinely apologise for it?"

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Emmy-Winning Soap Opera Writer Dies at 75. She Wrote for 'Guiding Light,' 'One Life to Live,' 'All My Children' and the Prime-Time Soap 'Dynasty'

An Emmy-winning writer of "Guiding Light," who was also part of the Emmy-nominated team of writers from "All My Children" earlier this year, has died at 75.

Barbara Esensten died Nov. 14 due to complications from a cerebral aneurysm.

According to the obituary at WeLoveSoaps.com, "In 1987 'Dynasty' producers Esther and Richard Shapiro hired two ex-news reporters to write several scripts for the new season. Esensten, who worked for an all-news radio station in Los Angeles, and James Harmon Brown, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, signed on to make the show more vital and realistic.

"Along with writing partner Brown, Esensten went on to write for 'Loving,' 'The City' (a show she co-created), 'Guiding Light,' 'Port Charles,' 'One Life to Live' and 'All My Children.' They were nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards and five Daytime Emmy Awards for their soap opera work, winning for 'Guiding Light' in 1993. They were part of the 'All My Children' team nominated earlier this year. They also wrote the TV movies 'Rich Men,' 'Single Women,' 'The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage,' and an episode of 'Father Dowling Mysteries.'"

The story notes that in Los Angeles, where Esensten was born and raised, she "volunteered at radio station KPFK, where she wrote and broadcast the news. She then moved to KFWB, and later KABC, and radio news became her full-time career," before getting the call to come write for "Dynasty."

The article adds, "Esensten is survived by her husband, Michael Chambers, three daughters, and her grandchildren."

[To see a wonderful picture of Esensten and her writing partner James Harmon Brown, please click on the link above.]

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Netflix CEO Says Amazon Is Losing Up to $1 Billion a Year on Streaming

Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings claims rival Amazon.com is losing between $500 million and $1 billion a year as it buys streaming video content rights, reports The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD.

Hastings said he came up with the numbers based on the value of the content deals Amazon won when the two companies competed on them, the story notes. Netflix last month said it was on track to spend $2.1 billion on content over the next year.

Netflix takes Amazon seriously, noting the company is "the best competitor we've ever faced." Amazon.com said it doesn't comment on individual investments, according to the story.

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Report: Former Fox Executive Peter Liguori Is Expected to Lead Tribune

Former Fox and Discovery executive Peter Liguori will be named to lead Tribune Co. when it emerges from bankruptcy, reports the Chicago Tribune, which is owned by the Chicago-based media company.

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission signed off on waivers needed to transfer Tribune's broadcast holdings to the new ownership, marking the last big hurdle before it can emerge from Chapter 11, the story notes.

The new ownership group is controlled by creditors Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which will likely take over by year-end, the piece adds.

The new owners have final approval on Tribune's new CEO, and they have picked Liguori, according to the report. Since May 2011, Los Angeles Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein has been CEO of Tribune Co. A representative for Tribune declined to comment.

Liguori, 52, was entertainment chief at Fox Broadcasting and more recently served as chief operating officer at Discovery Communications.

"Liguori is considered by some observers to be a good fit for Tribune Co. and its new owners," the story notes. "While the company's identity is closely connected to publishing, broadcasting is now the headline business and core profit center. One of Liguori's main jobs will be to help maximize TV ratings, advertising dollars and increasingly important affiliate fees for WGN America and Tribune Co.'s 23 local stations, according to industry insiders."

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MTV Buys Young-Adult Drama From Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer's Grammnet Productions has sold a young-adult drama to MTV, based on a novel called "Blackwood," reports Deadline.com.

The book, which was published in September by Angry Robot Books, is about a 19-year-old who investigates a mass disappearance that included her father. The book is by Gwenda Bond, while DC Comic book and television writer Peter Calloway will write the adaptation.

MTV has put the project in development, with Calloway executive producing with Grammer and Grammnet's Stella Bulochnikov and Brian Sher, the story notes.

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NBC's Historic Thanksgiving Day NFL Game Scoring Ad Rates Near $1 Million

NBC's Thanksgiving day NFL game -- which will mark the first NFL game to be broadcast in prime time on the holiday -- is scoring advertising rates near $1 million, reports Adweek.

"Every single spot in the game -- and I do mean every one of them -- has a unit cost of $975,000,” said Seth Winter, executive VP, sales and sales marketing, NBC SportsGroup. "There's nothing that will air that will cost a dollar more or a dollar less."

The game will pair the New England Patriots and the New York Jets, and could bring playoff-sized ratings, the piece notes. The game kicks off at 8:20 p.m., New York time.

For NBC's flagship program "Sunday Night Football," a single 30-second spot commands about $500,000, the story notes.

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Why Apple Won't Be Reinventing the TV Business in Time for the Holidays

Despite some projections that Apple would have an all-in-one TV set on the market in time for the holidays, it is looking unlikely, the New York Post reports, citing the poor state of the television set market may as a key factor.

Consumers and Apple fans had hoped the company might roll out the product before year-end. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffrey, for one, had predicted the device would be on sale next month. The piece calls Munster a “notorious Apple bull.”

But some obstacles stand in the way of a rollout, with one of the biggest being the market for television sets, which as been hurt by oversupply, thin margins and poor sales, the piece notes.

Sales of TV sets have dropped every year since 2009, while the average selling price of a TV is about $500. Munster predicted that an Apple TV set could cost as much as $2,000.

“For five years there have been rumors that Apple would upend the traditional TV business and render the remote obsolete with a fully integrated, flat-screen panel capable of piping all sorts of content into the home,” the piece notes, adding that hopes are fading not just for the end of this year, but possibly for a year from now as well.

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Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' Lawsuit Suffers Setback in California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court denied an appeal from former "Desperate Housewives" star Nicollette Sheridan, representing another defeat for the actress in her wrongful termination lawsuit, reports Deadline.com.

The actress suffered a defeat in September, when the California 2nd District Court of Appeal denied her petition for a rehearing of the suit. The lawsuit over her claims that she was fired from the show in retaliation after claiming show creator Marc Cherry struck her ended in a mistrial in March.

Neither Sheridan nor ABC's lawyers responded to requests for comment, according to the report.

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CBS Pulls the Plug on Comedy Series

CBS has made the decision to cancel a comedy series, Deadline.com reports. The show, which has been airing since Sept. 24, is “Partners.”

The decision comes after the sitcom sank to an all-time low Monday night, with a 1.8 average rating in the 18-49 demo. The series, which stars David Krumholtz and Michael Urie, has been a ratings low point in the network’s Monday lineup, where it has been a lead-in to “2 Broke Girls” -- possibly to the detriment of that show, the report notes.

CBS announced that it will insert a repeat of “Two and a Half Men” into the “Partners” slot next Monday at 8:30 p.m. -- a symbolic return to Mondays for “Men,” which ran on that night for nine seasons, the story notes.

"Partners" was the only new comedy CBS introduced this fall, the report notes. The show tells the story of two life-long friends, one gay and one straight, who are business partners. It was the brainchild of real-life buddies David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, who based the show on their friendship.

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Two TV Channels Aimed at Gun Enthusiasts Merge

InterMedia Outdoors -- which owns The Sportsman Channel and 15 magazines including Guns & Ammo and Petersen’s Hunting -- secured $150 million in financing to purchase Outdoor Channel, Deadline.com reports.

The deal merges two leading media companies serving gun enthusiasts, hunters and others who enjoy outdoor sports.

The agreement is expected to be finalized in early 2013. Tom Hornish, current CEO of Outdoor Channel, will continue in that role after the merger.

In a statement, Hornish said that by combining, “[we] will … better serve the consumers, distributors and advertisers in this robust marketplace.”

Outdoor Channel reaches 38.1 million pay TV households, and The Sportsman Channel reaches 30.1 million.

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Report: Ryan Murphy Project Heads to HBO After Failed Effort to Bring It to Big Screen

A high-profile project that "Glee's" Ryan Murphy hoped to take to the big screen -- with a cast including Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin Jim Parsons and Marc Ruffalo -- is now heading to HBO, reports Perez Hilton.

The project is an adaptation of Larry Kramer's AIDS play "The Normal Heart." Even with Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, behind him, Murphy has been unable to get the financing for a feature. It will become a $15 million HBO miniseries instead in the style of "Angels in America."

"The Normal Heart" has been a success on Broadway in its original run and the revival. The controversial play tells the story of the advent of AIDS as it affected a group of gay men in New York City early in the 1980s, when the media and the political world were skeptical about the disease's existence.

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CBS Coasts to Ratings Win as 'Big Bang Theory' Soars

Paced by a big number for “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS cruised to an easy ratings win Thursday night, based on Nielsen overnights.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that “Big Bang” was the top show of the night with a 5.5 average rating in the key 18-49 demo. It was a season high for “Bang,” and an 8% jump from last week.

“Two and a Half Men” also performed well for CBS, delivering a 4.1 average rating in 18-49, up 2% from a week earlier. “Person of Interest” came through with a 3.1, up 7%, and “Elementary” ticked up 5% to a 2.3.

CBS averaged a 3.4 for prime time in viewers 18-49, well ahead of Fox (2.2 average), ABC (2.2), Univision (1.9) and NBC (1.4). CBS was even further ahead in total viewers, averaging 13.6 million to 6.9 million for ABC, 6.3 million for Fox, 4.6 million for Univision and 3.7 million for NBC.

Fox had mixed results, with “The X Factor” rising 4% to a 2.4 in adults 18-49 while “Glee” dipped 13% to a 2.4.

ABC’s “Last Resort” tied its season low with a 1.3 in the 18-49 demo, down 7% from last week, while “Grey’s Anatomy” slipped 6% to a 3.1 and “Scandal” improved 11% to a 2.1.

NBC’s best number in viewers 18-49 was a 2.0 for “The Office,” which equaled the series’ all-time low. “Parks and Recreation” held steady with a 1.7, “30 Rock” remained at a 1.2, “Up All Night” dipped 7% to a 1.3 and “Rock Center” ticked up 10% to a 1.1.

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Comedy Central Orders More 'Burn'

"The Burn with Jeff Ross," the comic's weekly topical series, has been renewed by Comedy Central for a second season, reports B&C. The network wants six new episodes, the first of which will air Jan. 8, 2013.

"The Burn" bowed in August 2012 and has averaged 1 million viewers an episode in its first season.

Ross and a panel of guests skewer the week's pop culture stories. Ross executive produces the show with Mike Gibbons, Chris McGuire and Tagline Television's Willie Mercer and Amy Zvi.

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Showtime Orders Third Season of Lisa Kudrow Series

Lisa Kudrow's "Web Therapy" has received a third-season pickup from Showtime, reports Deadline.com.

The show, which began as an online comedy, has proved to be a cable hit. Kudrow plays Fiona Wallice, a self-professed and self-serving psychotherapist who limits her sessions with patients to just three minutes via webcam.

Deadline speculates that season three will consist of 10 episodes. Season two was made up of 11 installments.

Among the guests who have appeared on the program are Meryl Streep, Rosie O’Donnell, Conan O’Brien, Molly Shannon, Minnie Driver and David Schwimmer.

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Fox News Boss Roger Ailes Sounds Off About Karl Rove's Election Night Antics

Roger Ailes, Fox News' co-founder and chairman, said he decided to call it a night when he realized President Barack Obama was going to win the election, but when he got home and turned on the television he got a surprise.

"The first thing I see is [Karl] Rove saying something like, ‘You called Ohio too early,’” Ailes told TVNewser. “And I thought, ‘What the? What is this?’ So I quickly called [EVP of News] Michael Clemente and I said, ‘Michael whatever you do, don’t go to commercial. Don’t leave the screen.’”

Ailes said he told Clemente to send Megyn Kelly to talk to the decision team, and, if needed, have the group confront Rove.

"I didn’t want the public or our competitors to say we somehow panicked and didn’t confront the truth on camera," Ailes said. “As it turned out Rove was wrong. He backed down. Our guys were right. We stayed with it. Megyn did her famous walk down the hall. And it all worked out.”

Kelly’s “famous walk down the hall” can be seen in a video as part of our report last week -- click here to watch it.

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Paige Davis, Who Became a Household Name While Hosting TLC's 'Trading Spaces,' Quits Latest TV Gig

Paige Davis, who became a household name while hosting TLC's "Trading Spaces, has opted to leave her current TV gig after three months, reports Deadline.com.

The show she is leaving is Hallmark's "Home & Family," which tapes in Los Angeles.

"After much thought and careful consideration, and after close to three months away from her own home and family, Paige has decided to temporarily return to New York,” Hallmark said in a statement.

According to the report, Davis didn't feel comfortable on the show, with the interview portion proving challenging.

Co-host Mark Steines is staying on the show, and will be joined by Christina Ferrare until the program finds a permanent co-host.

"Home & Family" is part of a new daytime block debuted by Hallmark this fall, along with Marie Osmond's talk show. Although the program has drawn modest ratings, it's doing well financially, the story notes.

Paige-Davis.jpgPaige Davis

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'Dog Whisperer' Says He Tried to Commit Suicide

Cesar Millan, known for his Nat Geo Wild show "The Dog Whisperer," said he attempted suicide after his 16-year-old pit bull died and his wife filed for divorce, reports People.com.

Millan talks about his suicide attempt in "Cesar Millan: The Real Story," which will air Nov. 25 on Nat Geo Wild. In August, he wrote that the events of 2010 -- when his dog, Daddy, died and his wife of 16 years filed for divorce, left him "at the lowest level I had ever been emotionally and psychologically," the story says.

He survived an overdose, and instead turned to work and exercise to help recover, the story says. He also soon met a woman named Jahira Dar, whom he calls “the one,” the piece reports.

cesar-millan-daddy.jpgCesar Millan and Daddy

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Is This the End of the Road for Twinkies and Ding Dongs?

For better or worse, you may have eaten your last “Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling,” as Hostess Brands describes its iconic snack cake, the Twinkie.

Hostess filed a motion today to shut down the business -- closing the plants that make Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Hostess Cup Cakes, Wonder Bread and other products and clearing the way to lay off about 18,000 workers, USA Today reports.

The move follows an impasse in a weeklong strike by employees of the company. “Hostess workers remained on picket lines across the country Thursday night, refusing a company ultimatum to return to work or face the liquidation of the national baker,” the story reports.

The company suspended operations at its bakeries but said deliveries would continue and Hostess retail stores would remain open to sell the merchandise that’s already in the works.

Not everyone is convinced the latest moves by Hostess really mean the end of the road for the company. In a Wall Street Journal report on the case, the paper takes a wait-and-see stance.

“Hostess has threatened liquidation before in the case -- and during its last stint in Chapter 11 -- and not followed through,” the paper reports. “Earlier this year, it said a vote against its last, best, final offer by either of its two largest unions would prompt an immediate liquidation. But when the bakers union gave Hostess just that trigger, Hostess instead decided to take its case back to the court.”

The fate of the Twinkie and other products also remains uncertain, the piece notes, with a bankruptcy court auction possible if the liquidation goes through. A competitor could take over manufacture of the products.

In a letter to employees posted on the Hostess website, CEO Gregory Rayburn said: "Many people have worked incredibly long and hard to keep this from happening, but now Hostess Brands has no other alternative than to begin the process of winding down and preparing for the sale of our iconic brands."

The USA Today report adds: “Privately held Hostess filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade. The company cited increasing pension and medical costs for employees as one of the drivers behind its latest filing. Hostess contends workers must make concessions for it to exit bankruptcy and improve its financial position.”

Hostess-Twinkies.jpg

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Surprise: Executive With No Hard News Background Reportedly on Short List to Run CNN

A TV executive with no background in hard news is reportedly on the short list to run CNN.

The candidate in question is former Dick Clark Productions Chief Mark Shapiro, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Shapiro was a top programming executive at ESPN before running Dick Clark Prods., and he would be an unusual choice for CNN because he doesn't have a background in hard news, the story notes.

Shapiro has experience in production from his stint at ESPN, which has its own news division. He is considered an innovative executive, as well as at times being confrontational with talent and executives, the story adds.

He joins former NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker on the short list of CNN candidates. The story adds that the two are friendly with each other.

Currently running CNN is CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton, who has already said that he is resigning at the end of the year.

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The Voice of Smurfette Has Died; Her Long Career Included Everything From Being the Original Crusader Rabbit to Working on the 'Avatar' TV Series

The voice of Smurfette from the animated 1980s show "The Smurfs" has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lucille Bliss was 96 and died of natural causes.

Bliss had a 60-year career, voicing animated characters from the 1950s up until the time of her death, the story says. She got her start as the stepsister Anastasia in Disney's classic animated film "Cinderella," and then was cast in the title role in the original "Crusader Rabbit," the first animated show specifically made for TV.

"Crusader Rabbit" aired on NBC from 1950-52 and was co-created by Jay Ward, who created Rocky and Bullwinkle.

She later lost a job on the 1960s series "The Jetsons," on which she originally voiced Elroy, when she refused to work under a stage name to hide the fact she was a woman voicing a little boy, the story notes.

Her recent roles included the movie "Robots" and the television series "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

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Video: TV Chef Fires Back After Brutal Restaurant Review -- Blasts NY Times Food Critic, Saying He's Trying to Make a Name for Himself by 'Going After a Celebrity Chef Who's Not a New Yorker'

After a New York Times review that’s being called the worst restaurant review in the paper’s history, popular Food Network host Guy Fieri is firing back.

Fieri went on damage control to respond to the brutal review of his Times Square eatery Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, appearing on NBC’s "Today" and accusing the reviewer of having "another agenda," reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

Fieri commented on the review by Pete Wells during a special appearance on the morning show Thursday, saying: "It's a great way to make a name for yourself -- go after a celebrity chef who is not a New Yorker."

He added that he takes the food at the restaurant seriously, even though he doesn't work in-house. "I stand by my food," Fieri said.

Fieri also released a statement to the media. "I normally do not respond to reviews or critics, however, given the tone of Pete’s piece, it’s clear to me that he went into my restaurant with his mind already made up. That’s unfortunate. I take comments from patrons, fans and visitors very seriously, and if there is ever a problem with our service, we’ll fix it," the statement read.

As previously reported, Wells’ review included a series of antagonistic questions for Fieri, such as, "Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?"

Here's a clip of Fieri's appearance on "Today":

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Letter Raises More Questions About When CEO of The NY Times -- in His Previous Position as Chief of the BBC -- Learned About Sex Abuse Accusations

"A legal letter sent on behalf of Mark Thompson, the former director general of the BBC [and the current CEO of The New York Times], raises questions about his assertions that he learned of accusations of sexual abuse against its longtime host Jimmy Savile only after leaving the corporation’s top job," reports Matthew Purdy in The New York Times.

The story says: "The timing and substance of the letter are significant because Mr. Thompson, who began work [on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012] as president and chief executive of The New York Times Company, said in October that 'during my time as director general of the BBC, I never heard any allegations or received any complaints about Jimmy Savile.'"

The article notes: "In the letter, sent 10 days before Mr. Thompson left the BBC in September, lawyers representing him and another executive threatened to sue The Sunday Times in London over contentions in an article it was preparing that they had been involved in killing a BBC investigation of Mr. Savile. Interviews show that the letter included a summary of the alleged abuse, including the allegation that some abuse might have occurred at the BBC."

The story adds: "An aide to the former BBC chief said that although Mr. Thompson had orally authorized the sending of the letter, he had not known the details of its contents. 'It’s not clear if he was shown it, but he doesn’t remember reading it,' said the aide, a personal adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to give Mr. Thompson’s version of events. Mr. Thompson declined to comment."

In recent days Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The New York Times, has reiterated that Thompson has both his "full support" and the "full support" of The Times' Board of Directors. TVWeek asked Sulzberger today, via email, whether any of that support has eroded. We had not received a response by the time we published this item.

UPDATE on 11/16/2012 at 12:30 p.m., PT: A spokesperson from The New York Times called us to respond to the email we sent Sulzberger. The spokesperson said: "The situation is a little different since we made those remarks. They were made before Mark Thompson started as our CEO. He is now our CEO, and nothing has changed." TVWeek then asked if that meant that Thompson still had the "full support" of both Sulzberger and the Board. The spokesperson said, "Yes that would imply that they both still have full support" in Thompson.

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You Won't Believe the Drama HBO Is Developing With Writers of the Zombie Comedy Hit 'Zombieland.' It's a 180-Degree Departure

"Zombieland" writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are set to work on a script for  HBO -- and "Game Change" director and producer Jay Roach -- that's a major departure from that zombie comedy hit, reports Deadline.com.

The three will executive produce, while Roach will direct, a drama called "Our Father." The project, which is in development under a two-year deal with HBO that Roach signed earlier this year, tracks a powerful pastor as he fights to rediscover faith and connect with his family, the piece reports.

Roach earned two Emmys each for "Game Change" and "Recount."

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'Sherlock Holmes' Producer Has New Drama Project at CW

"Sherlock Holmes" producer Dan Lin is working on a drama project for the CW, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

The project, “Book Club,” is about a New Yorker who starts a reading group with her mother, grandmother and friends, and it's based on a documentary from Hope Hartman. The project will follow the group's adventures and careers as seen via their "book of the week," which will serve as a thematic mirror, the story adds.

Nina Colman of "Dr. Dolittle 3" will write the script and executive produce the project along with Lin and Lin Pictures' head of TV Jennifer Gwartz. The project is from Warner Bros. Television.

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Former News Corp. Executive Peter Chernin Joins Twitter Board

Former News Corp. President Peter Chernin has joined the board of Twitter, as the microblogging site wants to strengthen its relationships with media companies, reports Bloomberg.

Chernin sent his first tweet shortly after Twitter announced his appointment, the story notes. Twitter is trying to build relationships in the television, film and publishing industries as it woos advertisers.

After leaving News Corp., Chernin started his own entertainment group, Chernin Group LLC.

Peter-Chernin.jpgPeter Chernin

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NBC Orders Additional Episodes of Freshman Sitcom

NBC has ordered four more episodes of a freshman comedy, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker. The show is "Guys with Kids," which airs on Wednesday nights.

Created by Jimmy Fallon and Charlie Grandy, the series stars Anthony Anderson, Jesse Bradford, Zach Cregger, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Erinn Hayes and Tempestt Bledsoe.

The back order for the series will bring the total episode count for its first season to 17. The comedy about 30-something dads hasn't won over the critics. Nevertheless, it grew from its lead-in, "Animal Practice," and since that show's cancellation, "Guys with Kids" has held steady, the piece adds.

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More Ratings Woes for NBC, as Three Shows Equal Their All-Time Lows

A returning NBC sitcom matched its all-time low with its season premiere Wednesday night, as the Peacock Network finished well behind its Big Four broadcast rivals in the key 18-49 demo, based on Nielsen overnights.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that “Whitney,” the Whitney Cummings comedy series, returned to a 1.4 average rating in 18-49, 13% below its season one finale and equaling its series low. Also matching a series low was the network’s “Guys With Kids,” which came in with a 1.3. And “Law & Order: SVU” tied its all-time low with a 1.6, slipping from the 1.7 for its previous original episode.

The network’s “Chicago Fire” was off too, slipping 27% from last week to a 1.6 in viewers 18-49, but that can be explained by the loss of its lead-in from last week, the high-rated “The Voice.”

When the dust settled, NBC was in fifth place for prime time overall. Fox won the night with a 2.9 average rating in the 18-49 demo, followed by CBS (2.7 average), ABC (2.5), Univision (1.6) and NBC (1.5). CBS won total viewers by averaging 11.0 million, followed by Fox (8.1 million), ABC (7.7 million), NBC (5.2 million) and Univision (3.9 million).

While Fox’s two-hour “The X Factor” was up 12% from last week to a 2.9 average in 18-49, other networks had their share of disappointing numbers.

On ABC, “Suburgatory” tied a season low and “Nashville” slipped to an all-time low as the entire prime-time lineup was down from last week. “Suburgatory” came in with a 2.4 in the 18-49 demo, down 17%; “Nashville” managed only a 1.8, down 10%; “The Middle” delivered a 2.5, down 7%; “The Neighbors” dipped to a 1.9, off 10%; and even “Modern Family,” the night’s top-rated show with a 4.6, slipped 4%.

CBS had mixed results, with “Survivor: Philippines” down 7% from a week ago to a 2.6 average rating in 18-49, “Criminal Minds” even with last week with a 3.0, and “CSI” notching a 4% improvement to a 2.4.

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FX Renews Drama Series -- With Award-Winning Actress Also Set to Return

FX announced that it is bringing back an acclaimed drama series, and that one of its most popular stars will also be back. Deadline.com reports that Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” will be back for a 13-episode third season.

Also returning will be star Jessica Lange, the piece notes. Lange won Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy Awards for her performance as Constance Langdon in the series, the piece notes.

As with the transition between the first two seasons, cast members are returning in different roles for the new season.

Murphy and fellow series creator Brad Falchuk are keeping quiet about many of the details on season three, but production is set to get under way in summer 2013 with a target of premiering in fall 2013.

“The news comes with Season 2, ‘American Horror Story: Asylum,’ still on the air, headed to its conclusion on January 23,” the report notes. “It has been a formidable demo force in the Wednesday 10 PM time period, with last night’s episode topping all broadcast networks in Adults 18-34 (2.1). Vs. last week, ‘AHS: Asylum’ was up 30% in Adults 18-34 and 9% in Adults 18-49.

FX President John Landgraf commented: “With ‘American Horror Story: Asylum,’ Ryan and Brad have raised the bar in every way from ‘Murder House,’ the first ‘American Horror Story’ miniseries.”

The report notes: “Starring as Sister Jude in ‘AHS: Asylum,’ Lange will be moving to the Lead Actress category in the Golden Globe and Emmy awards this year, FX said.”

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Viacom Chief Addresses Concerns About MTV After 31% Plunge in Ratings

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman sought to reassure analysts about the condition of MTV after the cable channel’s 31% decline in prime-time ratings for the season vs. a year ago sparked concerns among investors, Deadline.com reports.

The channel’s ratings woes have had a hand in a 13% drop in Viacom share prices. But Dauman “assured analysts this morning that MTV is ‘not broken.’ Indeed he says the channel for teens and young adults is ‘highly successful’ and he has ‘no concerns about MTV’s vitality going forward,’” the story reports.

“As evidence he noted that ‘Catfish: The TV Show’ -- a reality program that helps people to connect with their online romances -- on Monday became ‘the highest-rated launch in MTV history,’” the piece notes. Dauman also said MTV has a “great development platform.”

The piece adds: “Dauman also talked up the decision this week to hire former WB and Lifetime programming chief Susanne Daniels to take charge of MTV’s programming, replacing David Janollari. ‘We’ve had our eye on her for a long time,’ Dauman says, adding that she will help to ‘turbocharge’ development of both reality and scripted shows for MTV.”

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NBCU Retools Its Senior Sales Team

Here are the  key roles that NBCU announced today for its ad sales team:

• Dan Lovinger Promoted to EVP, Cable Ad Sales, NBCUniversal
• Mark Miller Promoted to EVP, Ad Sales, NBCUniversal News Group
• Peter Naylor Named EVP, Ad Sales, NBC News Digital
• Trish Frohman Joins Sales Organization in New Role of EVP, Ad Sales Strategy
• Alison Tarrant Joins Company as EVP of Newly-Created Client Solutions Group

Here is the entire announcement made by NBCU:

NEW YORK – (November 15, 2012) NBCUniversal today announced several key roles within the company’s ad sales organization. Dan Lovinger, EVP of Advertising Sales & Integrated Marketing for Telemundo Media, has been promoted to EVP, Cable Ad Sales, NBCUniversal, adding sales oversight of several additional cable networks to his current duties. Mark Miller, SVP, Ad Sales for USA & Syfy, has been promoted to EVP, Ad Sales, NBCUniversal News Group. Peter Naylor, EVP, Digital Media Sales, has been named EVP, Ad Sales, NBC News Digital. Trish Frohman joins the company as EVP, Ad Sales Strategy; and Alison Tarrant joins NBCUniversal as EVP, Client Solutions for the company’s Cable Entertainment networks, a newly created division within the sales organization. All five executives will report to Linda Yaccarino, President of Ad Sales, NBCUniversal, and begin their new roles immediately.


Said Yaccarino, “Each of these executives brings a tremendous range of sales and marketing experience that is both strategic and forward thinking. As we continue to embrace the challenges and opportunities in a world where none of the old rules apply, it is essential that we structure our group to respond to the changing needs of our clients and position ourselves for continued success. I have known each of these leaders for years, some who I have worked with closely and others by their reputation, and have been continually impressed by their creativity, strategic thinking and ability to partner with clients to deliver innovative solutions for their brands. I am delighted to have them as part of my senior team.”


Lovinger will continue to oversee ad sales for Telemundo Media and will add sales responsibility for several additional cable networks. For Telemundo, he will continue to have a dual report into Yaccarino and Jackie Hernandez, COO, Telemundo Media. Lovinger joined Telemundo Media in 2011, responsible for overseeing advertising sales and marketing for Telemundo, mun2, and their digital properties. Among his accomplishments, he led the network in back-to-back record upfront performances. He has more than 20 years of experience in advertising sales and business development, including key sales roles at MTV, VH1, CNBC and NBC International.


Miller, who has served as the SVP, Ad Sales for USA, Syfy, Chiller and Cloo since 2005, has been promoted to EVP, Ad Sales for the NBCUniversal News Group. In this newly-created role he will oversee sales for NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC. Among his accomplishments, Miller led the sales efforts around the rebranding of USA and Syfy, helping to elevate the networks’ leadership positions within the marketplace. He has worked at NBCUniversal since 1996, holding senior level sales roles at CNBC, CNBC Europe and the Owned Television Stations. Before that, Miller was the Vice President of sales for CNN’s New York office.


In his new role as EVP, Sales for NBC News Digital, Naylor will oversee all sales efforts for nbcnews.com, msnbc.com, today.com and cnbc.com, as well as ivillage.com, which yesterday became part of the NBC News Digital division. Naylor previously was the EVP of Digital Media Sales for NBCUniversal for six years, where among his accomplishments he spearheaded two industry-leading social media symposiums. In addition, he is the current Chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Treasurer of the Online Publishers Association (OPA). Before that, Naylor led advertising sales for the iVillage Properties, acquired by NBC Universal in May 2006, and held various sales roles at companies including Terra Lycos and Vanity Fair and Spin magazines.


Frohman will lead a newly-created Ad Sales Strategy group that will work closely with Yaccarino and the sales leaders across the portfolio to help develop the overall sales strategy for the division. She will lead the team that handles all the sales planning for the company and also develop and implement training programs and solutions to grow, mentor and create career paths for members of the sales team. Frohman joins NBCUniversal from Turner Broadcasting, where she worked for more than 16 years in a variety of sales roles of increasing responsibility, culminating with her position as the EVP, Sales and Marketing for the Sports, Event Marketing, Local and Turner trade groups.


In the newly-created Client Solutions group, Tarrant will work closely with the leaders of the cable entertainment networks, their in-house sales marketing teams, and NBCUniversal’s Integrated Media group, to create, plan and execute client focused marketing efforts across the cable entertainment portfolio. She joins NBCUniversal from the CW Network where she worked since 2000, most recently as the Executive Vice President of Integrated Sales and Marketing. There, she was responsible for developing revenue generating opportunities across the CW’s television, digital, mobile and social platforms, collaborating closely with clients on some of the industry’s most innovative sales marketing efforts including the development of Content Wraps and CWickies. Prior to the CW Network, Tarrant worked for Universal McCann, holding several roles at the company culminating as the Vice President, Group Director for the Coca-Cola Company account.

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Actress Known for Playing Blair on 'The Facts of Life' Has West Nile Virus -- Did She Get It on 'Survivor'?

Actress Lisa Whelchel, who’s currently competing on CBS's "Survivor," has the West Nile virus, reports KHOU-TV in Houston. Whelchel is best known as Blair on NBC's 1980s sitcom "The Facts of Life."

The actress reported the news herself on Facebook and Twitter, saying that after getting the diagnosis, she is "fine, just tired." She expects it to take about a year to fully recover from the disease.

Whelchel, 49, did not say whether she got the virus while taping "Survivor" in the Philippines.

lisa-whelchel.jpgLisa Whelchel

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OMG: Cracker Jack Meets Red Bull!!??

[Note: Story revised at 4 p.m., PT, on Nov 15, 2012 to add comments and references in the Advertising Age version of this story.]

PepsiCo's Frito-Lay is putting some more pop in its Cracker Jacks, reports Advertising Age, continuing, "A new line extension called "Cracker Jack'd" will hit stores soon, including a caffeinated variety called Power Bites that is drawing criticism from a health-advocacy group that fears the snack might make little Johnny a bit too hyper."

Says an ABC News version of the story, "The jacked-up munchies will come in two flavors -- vanilla mocha and cocoa java -- and "will contain approximately 70 mg of caffeine in each 2 oz. package" by adding coffee to the list of ingredients alongside sugar and molasses, the company said. That's a caffeine kick equivalent to a 1-ounce serving of espresso or two 12-ounce servings of cola."

According to the Ad Age story, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said "Boxes of Cracker Jack are famous for having a toy surprise inside. But what parent suspects th

Ad Age  adds that the CSPI also notes, in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that "Caffeine is generally recognized as safe only in cola-type beverages and only at concentrations of 0.02% or less (about 72 mg per 12 oz.)."

To which a Frito-Lay spokesperson responded to ABC News, "It is worth pointing out the regulation referenced in the Center for Science's letter to FDA speaks to caffeine -- not coffee -- and is not an exhaustive list of the safe uses of caffeine in foods and beverages. Rather, it represents one particular recognized safe use." 

"The representative stressed that the company is adding coffee to the product that's likely to reach stores early next year."

Furthermore, a Frito-Lay spokesperson told Ad Age, according to its article, "Cracker Jack'd is a product line specifically developed for adult consumers and will not be marketed to children. All marketing for the products will be exclusively aimed at adult consumers, and the package design and appearance are wholly different from Cracker Jack to ensure there is no confusion among consumers. The presence of coffee and the caffeine that comes with it is clearly called out on both the front and back of the package."

crackerjack'd.jpg

 

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What's the Real Story Behind NBC's Current Comedy Strategy?

NBC’s ratings resurgence this season has taken place in spite of -- and not because of -- one of its traditional strengths: comedy. The freshman sitcom “Go On” is off to an OK start, but in general the network that once branded its Thursday night comedy block “Must See TV” is struggling to re-establish a foothold in half-hour comedies.

TV Guide reports that NBC execs are focused on the problem. NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke talked about it in an interview with the publication that touches on why she scrapped a spinoff of “The Office,” big changes that are in store for “Up All Night” and why the drama series “Revolution” is headed for a long hiatus.

Said Salke: "We just want a different brand. We don't want a narrow brand in the sense of some of those shows that we inherited here, which we're huge fans of, [but] have a very narrow audience."

“Salke is referring to critically acclaimed comedies like ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Community’ (which returns Feb. 7), as well as the retiring ‘30 Rock’ and ‘The Office,’” the piece reports. “On Oct. 25, the last time NBC's entire Thursday four-comedy block wasn't pre-empted, none of the sitcoms attracted more than 4 million viewers.”

The network finds itself at a crossroads, the story says, with “The Office” and “30 Rock” on the way out and the futures of “Community” and “Parks and Rec” far from certain. “The decisions NBC makes now, and pilots the network orders this winter, will determine their path,” the report notes. “That's one reason they ultimately passed on ‘The Farm,’ the proposed ‘Office’ spinoff featuring Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) running his beet farm. (The scrapped series' pilot will still air as an episode of ‘The Office’ later this season.)”

Said Salke: "We love Rainn. But ‘The Farm’ felt like a step towards an even narrower version of what those Thursday night comedies have been for us. A very specific audience would be checking that show out, and that feels too narrow for what we're trying to do. We're trying to do big, breakout ideas that are incredibly unique, that invite more than just a few people into the tent."

The network hasn’t given up on “Up All Night,” which continues to undergo creative changes. “The network still believes enough in series stars Will Arnett, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph (and, perhaps more importantly, executive producer Lorne Michaels) to give it one last-ditch overhaul,” the piece reports.

"You can never underestimate a cast like that," Salke said. "They don't come easy."

The story notes: “At the suggestion of Michaels, the single-camera comedy will return later this spring completely made over as a multi-camera sitcom, including being taped in front of a studio audience. The characters will remain the same, but almost everything else will be different. Salke says the revamp will save more than $500,000 in production costs per episode.” Salke adds: "But that's not the motivating factor. We think it will capture the things that we love about [the cast] and address some of the things that are missing to make the show feel relevant."

On the drama side, NBC has one of the season’s few hits in “Revolution.” But the network is putting the show on hiatus for several months after the Nov. 26 midseason finale -- leaving it on the shelf until March 25. “That will allow NBC to air originals, uninterrupted, and into the summer,” the piece reports. “Salke says it also means NBC can keep ‘Revolution’ protected behind ‘The Voice,’ which doesn't return for its fourth cycle until that same night.”

Said Salke: "We're aware of how rare the miracles of these hits can happen. We wanted to put it in the most protected time slot possible, and we believe people will wait for it. We want to make sure we give it every chance possible to be the hit that we think it can be."

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News Corp. on Verge of Major Yankees Media Deal

News Corp. is closing in on a deal that will put the media company in business with the New York Yankees, The New York Times’ Media Decoder reports. The company is set to buy a stake in the New York-based cable channel YES Network, which broadcasts Yankees MLB games and Brooklyn Nets NBA games.

A deal could be completed as soon as Friday, according to the piece. YES, partly owned by the Yankees, would add to News Corp.'s large holdings of regional sports assets and fits into its strategy of growing its sports TV business, the article points out.

News Corp. would buy its stake from the Yankees' equity partners in YES, which include Providence Equity Partners and Goldman Sachs, with the team's holding company keeping its 34% stake.

The price hasn’t been disclosed, but YES is valued at about $3 billion. James Murdoch, the son of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, sits on the board of the team's holding company, Yankees Global Enterprises.

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Trivia Question of the Day: What Retailer Does the Most Sales per Square Foot, at $4,500? (Hint: No. 2 Is Tiffany's at $3,000 per Square Foot)

Here's a good triva question: What retailer in the country racks up the highest amount of sales per square foot of its stores?

The answer is Apple, whose 390 stores "remain the gold standard of retail," reports the New York Post.

"[T]he Cupertino, Calif.-based company's $4,592.20 in sales per square foot is the envy of every shop owner in the country," the story says.

Still, as the article notes, this number actually represents the 2.5 percent drop in sales per square foot that Apple experienced "in the year ended Sept. 30th, 2012 ... after growing more than 20 percent in 2011."

The story explains, "Most industry watchers see the slowing growth as inevitable for a company that has had such massive success. Eventually, it becomes harder to find untapped customers, and the company already had conquered the choicest retail locations."

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Producer of Reality Series Sues Assistant Over Tell-All Book

A producer of a Bravo reality series is suing his longtime assistant, alleging she broke confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements by writing a tell-all book, reports Deadline.com.

Jeff Lewis, a producer of the series "Flipping Out," and his production company filed the lawsuit against Jenni Pulos, according to the report. The suit says Pulos’ book was originally called "Hang In There, Baby: What One of the World’s Most Difficult Bosses Taught Me About Life, Work and Love," but later was changed to simply "Hang In There, Baby."

Lewis says he requested a copy of the manuscript but that Pulos’ agents advised against it, the story notes. The book is scheduled to be released in August 2013.

Lewis is asking for a “a preliminary and permanent injunction” against Pulos or any of her representatives from “publishing any and all facts and/or references to events … related in any manner to personal, private, proprietary and confidential information," according to the suit.

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One Day After Shakeup, NBC's 'Today' Names New Executive Producer

Just one day after the news broke that Jim Bell was leaving NBC’s morning show “Today” to work on the network’s Olympics coverage, the network tapped senior broadcast producer Don Nash to executive produce the program, TVNewser.com reports.

Nash will report to Alex Wallace, who replaced Bell earlier this week as executive in charge of the program, as previously reported.

Nash, who started out as an NBC page in Burbank, is a 23-year veteran of "Today." He has held his current role since 2005.

NBC shook up "Today" management this week after a rough year, replacing Bell with Wallace after the show lost 10 consecutive weeks to ABC rival "Good Morning America" in the key demo of viewers 25 to 54.

don-nash.jpgDon Nash

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Who Doesn't Love Guy Fieri, Host of the Popular 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'? Well, His Latest Project Just Got Hammered -- Brutally -- by a Writer in The New York Times

Does anyone not like Guy Fieri's work as host of the popular Food Network series "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"?

Unfortunately, Fieri's latest project doesn't look like it's going to be a hit.

Fieri has opened a restaurant, and the latest nail in the coffin of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar in New York’s Times Square was hammered home by The New York Times. The paper’s review of the place is so harsh that "not even Fieri would park the car for a bite to eat," reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

As written by Pete Wells, the New York Times review includes a series of antagonistic questions for Fieri, such as, "Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?"

The review is so rough that it might be "the final nail in the coffin for the place," notes the New York Post. The Post's own reviewer noted, "I wouldn't feed the mess to a cat."

Some of Fieri's colleagues on Food Network came to his defense, with Alton Brown tweeting he plans to visit the restaurant "because it can’t be as bad as all those snooty New Yorkers say," the Post notes.

guy-fieri.jpgGuy Fieri

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New NBC Show Has Quite a Pedigree: Oscar-Winning Director Will Executive Produce It and Oscar-Winning Writer Will Pen Its Script. And It's Based on a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book

This deal seems to have all its bucks behind the scenes: Academy Award winners will executive produce and write it, and it's based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

Oscar-winning director and producer Barry Levinson ("Rain Man") will executive produce the new drama project for NBC, which will be written by the Oscar-winning writer of "The King's Speech, David Seidler, reports The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

The project is about George Washington and is based on "Washington: A Life," the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Ron Chernow.

The TV project is described as an intimate look at the country's first president, with episodes of the series moving through his life to reveal his character, the story adds.

"There's George Washington the national icon, gazing out from the dollar bill with his mouthful of supposedly wooden teeth, and then there's the George Washington who had an adulterous affair with his best friend's wife," said Seidler.

Seidler, who will also executive produce, added: "Not an icon, a very human human being, who learned how to lead. That’s the man I want to understand.”

The project has received a script commitment from NBC.

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The Producer and Writer of the Mega-Hit 'Hatfields & McCoys' Are Working on Another Miniseries for History Channel

The team behind the hit miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys" is working on another miniseries for the History channel, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

Leslie Greif, the producer of "Hatfields & McCoys" -- which he pitched for years and years before he finally was able to sell it -- will produce the new show, with the focus this time on the Texas Rangers in the 19th century.

Ted Mann -- who wrote "Hatfields" -- is on board to write the project, called "Texas Rising." The project will be a six-hour miniseries that looks at the formation of the Texas Rangers.

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Macy's Stands By Donald Trump in Face of Petition to Dump Him

Macy's isn't showing any signs of dumping Donald Trump, despite a petition with almost 558,000 signatures that urges the department store to end its partnership with the "Celebrity Apprentice" host, reports Advertising Age.

Macy's has featured Trump in its television ads and carries Trump-branded men's clothing and a Trump fragrance collection called "Success." As previously reported, the retailer's new campaign features Trump in a spot called "Another Miracle on 34th Street."

Anti-Trump sentiment grew especially strong during the recent election cycle, with Trump making a series of statements lashing out at President Obama. Macy's says its marketing and merchandise don't represent any political position.

The petition at SignOn.org singles out Trump for allegedly denying climate change and being sexist, the story adds.

Here’s the Macy’s ad:

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'Rescue Me' Showrunner -- an Emmy Winner for 'Murphy Brown' -- Joins Greg Kinnear Drama

A veteran television producer who was showrunner on “Rescue Me” -- an Emmy winner as part of the team behind “Murphy Brown” and again as a writer on “The Larry Sanders Show” -- has joined “Rake,” a legal drama set up at Fox, Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com.

Peter Tolan joins as exec producer and showrunner on the project, which has a pilot production commitment plus series penalty from Fox, the piece reports.

“Tolan succeeds Paul Attanasio, who was originally attached as showrunner when ‘Rake’ was taken out to broadcast and cable networks in late September but had to pull out before the deal with Fox was completed because of other commitments,” Andreeva writes. “’Rake’ is based on the popular Australian series whose co-creator Peter Duncan will write the U.S. adaptation under Tolan’s supervision.”

Andreeva adds: “Like ‘Rescue Me’ -- toplined by Denis Leary, who co-created the series with Tolan -- ‘Rake’ is a starring vehicle with a flawed character at the center. It also has a similar sensibility of a drama with comedic overtones. ‘Rake’ follows the chaotic world of criminal defense lawyer Cleaver Greene (Kinnear). Brilliant, iconoclastic and innately self-destructive, he has a mind-numbing lack of discretion and a total inability to pause before speaking his mind. From bigamists to cannibals and everything in between, the clients Cleaver loves most are those whose cases appear to be utterly hopeless without him realizing that he, himself, is perhaps the most desperate case of all.”

“Rake” comes from Sony Pictures TV and Essential Media.

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Creepy Director Signs On With TV Documentary About a Creepy Subject

A film director who has earned a reputation for his creepy material has signed on with a project that is likely to reinforce that image. “Cosmopolis” director David Cronenberg will narrate HBO’s “Tales From the Organ Trade,” Deadline.com reports.

The documentary, set to air in 2013 on HBO, is produced by Toronto’s Associated Producers in association with HBO, Global TV and Canal D, the piece reports.

The report adds: “Directed by Ric Esther Bienstock, the investigative documentary tracks the global market in the illegal sales of human body parts.”

The Canadian-born Cronenberg, known for his intensely psychological brand of horror, has made a mark with unsettling films such as “Scanners” and “Dead Ringers.” He is recognized as a pioneer of the body horror genre, which plays largely off fears of infection and bodily degeneration.

david-cronenberg.jpgDavid Cronenberg

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Lifetime Orders Unscripted Show Focusing on Teen Behavior

"Teen Trouble," an unscripted show featuring teen behavior specialist Josh Shipp, has been ordered by Lifetime, reports B&C.

Shipp will host the show, with each hour-long episode tracking him as he helps out-of-control teens address their problems, including issues such as drug abuse and stealing, the story notes.

Lifetime has ordered eight episodes of "Teen Trouble," with the show slated to debut Dec. 28 at 10 p.m.

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NBC Buys Generation Y Comedy

NBC has bought a comedy about a group of Generation Y friends whose lives have been affected by the Internet, reports Deadline.com.

The project, called "iQuit," focuses on five friends seven years after graduating from UC Berkeley. One of them has made a fortune selling an app, while another is famous on YouTube and a third has had his life ruined by Facebook, the story notes.

The project comes from "Jake in Progress" creator Austin Winsberg, Universal Cable Productions and Doug Liman and David Bartis’ studio-based Hypnotic.

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CBS Signs On With Arena Football League

The CBS Sports Network acquired the rights to the Arena Football League as part of a two-year agreement, with the league's championship game to air on the CBS broadcast network, reports B&C.

CBS Sports Network reaches 99 million households. It will broadcast 19 regular-season AFL games throughout the 2013 season, and two playoff games. Last season the AFL aired on the NFL Network.

The Saturday night game of the week will be televised on CBS Sports Network in prime time, with the first telecast set for March 23, 2013. At the end of the season, the league's ArenaBowl XXVI championship game will be broadcast on CBS on Aug. 17.

In a statement, Dan Weinberg, senior vice president of programming for CBS Sports Network, said, "We're excited to partner with the AFL and bring this fast-paced, high-energy style of football to viewers. The AFL has an established fan base and adds to our already robust lineup of football programming."

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Rocker's Daughter Arrested After Apparent Heroin Overdose

The daughter of a well-known rock performer was arrested today on drug possession charges after what is suspected to be a heroin overdose, Reuters reports.

Stephanie Bongiovi, the 19-year-old daughter of Jon Bon Jovi, was arrested in Clinton, N.Y., after she was found unresponsive in a dorm room at Hamilton College, the piece reports. Police said she was taken to a local medical facility, adding that heroin and marijuana were found in the room.

“Bongiovi was later booked on misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance (heroin), marijuana possession and criminal use of drug paraphernalia,” the report says. She was later released.

Reps for Jon Bon Jovi declined to comment, the report notes.

“Police said Ian S. Grant, 21, a student who was in the same room as Bongiovi, was also charged with possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and later released,” the report adds. “Both Bongiovi and Grant will appear in court at a later date.”

Stephanie-bongiovi.jpgStephanie Bongiovi

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ABC Series Going Out With a Whimper; NBC and CBS in Hard Fight for Tuesday Ratings

On a night when NBC and CBS went at it tooth and nail for ratings supremacy, an ABC series that is playing out the string sank to an all-time low Tuesday, based on Nielsen overnights.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that NBC eked out a narrow win over CBS in the key demo of viewers 18-49 for prime time as a whole, while CBS more than doubled its closest competition in total viewers. Meanwhile, the ABC drama “Private Practice” -- which got notice a few weeks ago that it wasn’t being picked up for a back nine episodes -- sank to a series-low 1.1 average rating in the 18-49 demo, plummeting 21% from the 1.4 it delivered Oct. 23 for its previous original episode.

Paced by a 3.8 average for “The Voice” in 18-49 -- down substantially from the 4.6 delivered by the most recent Tuesday episode but 27% better than last Thursday’s out-of-pattern results show -- NBC won prime time with a 2.6, just ahead of CBS’s 2.5 and well ahead of Fox (1.7 average), Univision (1.6) and ABC (1.4). CBS had a landslide win, however, in total viewers, averaging 14.3 million to 7.1 million for NBC, 6.5 million for ABC, 4.0 million for Univision and 3.5 million for Fox.

NBC also had a 2.3 in the 18-49 demo for “Go On” -- down 4% from its most recent original -- a 1.8 for “Parenthood” -- down 5% -- and a 1.8 for “The New Normal” -- up 6%.

CBS was mostly down, with “NCIS” settling for a 3.0 in adults 18-49 -- down from a 3.4 for its previous original -- and “Vegas” dipping to a 1.6 -- down from a 1.7 -- while “NCIS: Los Angeles” held steady with a 2.8, tying its season low.

Fox got good news from “The Mindy Project,” which rose 13% to a 1.7 in 18-49, but the rest of the lineup was down: “Raising Hope” fell 6% to a 1.6; “Ben and Kate” was off 21% to a 1.1; and “New Girl” dipped 4% to a 2.2.

ABC had mixed results, with “Don’t Trust the B----“ slipping 8% to a 1.1 in viewers 18-49 while “Dancing with the Stars” rose 6% to a 1.9 and “Happy Endings” held even with a 1.4.

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Tim Tebow Is New Spokesperson for TiVo. Tebow Was Approached After TiVo CEO's Son Heard Radio Show Talking About Tebow and Thought They Were Talking About TiVo. Really

TiVo has hired controversial NFL quarterback Tim Tebow as its spokesman, USA Today reports.

The story reports: "TiVo CEO Tom Rogers ... admits the genesis of the idea came from his teenage son, who mistakenly thought a discussion he heard on the radio about Tebow was about TiVo. 'The more I thought about it, the more it worked on a number of levels,'" Rogers said.

The article continues, "Rogers makes the inevitable football comparisons. Passing? The new TiVo Stream (accessory) lets you literally pass your recordings from a TiVo DVR to an iPad. Navigating the field? TiVo boxes aim to help consumers navigate the fragmented nature of television."

Tebow, who also endorses Nike, Jockey, Soul Headphones and FRS health drinks, told USA Today "Because he spends a lot of time on airplanes, he relishes catching up on favorite shows 'Revenge' and 'Castle.' 'Plus, TiVo learns me.' He says he'll give the Showtime series 'Homeland' a try based on a TiVo recommendation."

The article adds, "TiVo is adding a 'Tim Tebow Zone' collection with recommendations of the quarterback's favorite TV shows, movies and content aimed at kids. The company is also donating up to $1 for each 'like' on TiVo's official Facebook page (up to $25,000) to the Tim Tebow Foundation for children in need."

Thumbnail image for tivo.bmpTeBow. Er, TiVo. (You figure it out ...)

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Better Bond Girl: Rihanna or Beyonce? Current 007 Daniel Craig Doesn't Hesitate, Saying One Is 'Dirtier'

Actor Daniel Craig, who’s out making the rounds in support of his current James Bond movie “Skyfall,” was asked whether Beyonce or Rihanna would make a better Bond girl, and he didn’t hesitate.

Craig thinks Rihanna is a better fit for the gig. Why? Because she’s “dirtier,” according to Craig.

The comment came during an interview by GlobalGrind.com, posted on YouTube. Here’s the clip, which includes a few minutes of more typical movie promotion chat ... and a little bit of politics ... before the Rihanna/Beyonce question at the end of the video:

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Report: Netflix Customers Watch Less Television

Netflix subscribers watch 11% fewer minutes of television each day than people who don't subscribe to the streaming service, reports Multichannel News, citing a report from Nielsen.

Netflix users watched an average of 246 minutes of TV per day in the second quarter of 2012, compared with 276 minutes of TV for consumers who don't get the service, the piece notes.

The report found that overall, TV viewing in the second quarter declined about five minutes per day, or about 1.9%, from 2011, across all television households. TV households are also shrinking, with 1.37 million fewer TV homes in the second quarter of 2012. The U.S. now has 114.3 million TV homes.

Consumers are also using mobile devices while watching TV. About 40% of tablet and smartphone owners use their devices at least once a day while watching TV, the story notes.

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News Anchor Suspended Over Alleged Homophobic Remarks About TV Host

A television news anchor was suspended by her station for remarks that are being called homophobic, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. Raycom-owned WXIX-TV, a Fox affiliate, suspended anchor Tricia Macke for two days.

Macke, who co-anchors the evening newscasts, allegedly made remarks on Facebook calling MSNBC host Rachel Maddow an "angry young man." Maddow is openly gay.

WXIX-TV general manager Bill Lanesey said the station wouldn't comment on personnel matters. Macke returned to work this week after two days off the air.

The incident caused controversy in the Ohio city, with GLAAD demanding an apology, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Macke issued an apology online, saying her comments were "insensitive and inappropriate."

"I apologize to Ms. Maddow and any others who may have been offended by my comments, as they do not reflect my firm beliefs in individual and equal rights, and they certainly do not represent the opinions or position of my employer WXIX-TV," Macke said in the statement.

tricia-macke.jpgTricia Macke

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Video -- The Verdict Is In: After the Thousands of Ads Shown During the Presidential Campaign, and the Millions Spent, Here's the TV Ad Judged Most Effective

The race for the presidency is over. And of the thousands of TV ads shown, and the millions of dollars spent making them and buying ad time to show them, one has been judged the "most effective spot of the 2012 campaign," the New Yorker reports. [Note: This article is not available for free. You must subscribe to the New Yorker to see it.]

The spot is called "Stage," and was "commissioned and paid for by Priorities USA, a pro-Obama Super Pac," the article expains. The spot was "created by a political media firm in Philadelphia called Shorr, Johnson, Magnus (S.J.M.)," the story notes, adding, "When 'Stage' first aired in Ohio and other battleground states, in June, ABC News called it 'the Bain ad that Romney should fear most.' And, on Election Night, Sarah Palin singled out S.J.M.'s ads as Romney's biggest problem in Ohio. ... Ace Metrix, a company that analyzes TV advertising, ranked the ad the 'most effective' spot of the 2012 campaign."

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Will Ferrell and Anne Heche Join Forces on New NBC Sitcom

A single-camera comedy in development at NBC has a high-profile team behind it, including Will Ferrell and Anne Heche. Deadline.com reports that Ferrell and Adam McCay's Gary Sanchez Productions is working with Heche on the female-focused sitcom "Bad Judge."

The project is based on an idea by Heche, who brought it to Gary Sanchez. The show will focus on a female judge in the criminal court system who has a hard-living lifestyle and is "sexually unapologetic," the story notes.

Heche and Jill Messick will executive produce with Ferrell and McKay. Heche is already in business with NBC with the midseason series “Save Me,” which Heche stars in and produces.

Gary Sanchez Productions has sold two other projects to NBC this season, the report notes: Leslye Headland’s “Assistance” and Lauryn Kahn’s “I Guess I Do.”

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Video: Jon Stewart Berates Himself for Paula Broadwell Interview: 'I'm the Worst Journalist in the World'

Jon Stewart berated himself on "The Daily Show" for his interview with Paula Broadwell, the biographer and mistress of former CIA Director David Petraeus, the Los Angeles Times reports. Video of the interview gained widespread attention after Petraeus suddenly resigned as CIA director over his extramarital affair with Broadwell.

“I'm the worst journalist in the world. For God’s sake the title of her book was ‘All In,'" Stewart said on his Comedy Central show. As previously reported, Stewart interviewed Broadwell earlier this year as part of her book tour for "All In," her biography of Petraeus.

Stewart had no idea anything was going on, the Times says.

"The whole time I was just thinking how defined her arms were and trying to think of another version one of my classic I’m-an-asthmatic-old-Jew joke,” Stewart said on his show after the scandal broke.

"Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Broadwell’s gushing interview is full of innuendo: She praises the retired general’s energy, talks about his speedy recovery after a pelvis injury and even suggests that he can 'turn water into bottled water,'" the Times notes.

Here’s a clip of Stewart’s reaction to the scandal:

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Aside From NBC, Broadcasters Are Having a Not-So-Great Season -- So How Bad Is the Damage?

Aside from NBC's improving fortunes, the broadcast networks aren't having a great start to the 2012-13 television season, reports MediaLife.

All the other broadcasters are down in the ratings from last year, and the combined top five networks have seen an 11% falloff among viewers 18 to 49, the story notes.

Combined, they have earned an 11.8 rating in the demographic during the first seven weeks of the season, according to Nielsen, down from a 13.3 rating at this time last year.

NBC leads with a 3.2 rating, up from a 2.6 rating last year. CBS is in second place with a 2.8 rating, representing an 18% decline from its 3.4 rating last fall. ABC, meanwhile, is off 7%, while Fox has plummeted 29%. The CW is down 30%.

"One [reason] is simply the natural erosion that broadcast has seen over recent years as viewers are increasingly distracted by cable, video games, tablets and other new media devices that take their time away from traditional broadcast viewing," the story notes.

"But certainly this year’s lackluster crop of new shows can also take some blame. Last year new shows such as 'The X Factor,' 'Once Upon a Time,' '2 Broke Girls' and 'New Girl' all drew good ratings," the article points out.

"This year there are just two hits, 'Revolution' and 'Arrow.'"

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Eddie Murphy Finally Gets His Moment in the Spotlight

You may be surprised to hear that comedy legend Eddie Murphy has never been the focus of a televised tribute by the many comics he has influenced. But that changes tonight, when “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” airs on Spike TV.

TVWeek Open Mic blogger Hillary Atkin says to expect something that departs significantly from the familiar formula of a Comedy Central roast. Read her in-depth take on the event here.

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Disney Theme Park Ride Gets TV Treatment

A popular Disney theme park ride is getting the television treatment, TheWrap.com reports. A pilot is being developed for ABC that's based on the roller coaster ride "Big Thunder Mountain."

Chris Morgan of "Wanted" will co-write the story with Jason Fuchs of "Ice Age: Continental Drift"; ABC has ordered a script from ABC Studios.

It's not known what the show will have in common with the ride, but the roller coaster's theme is "a mining town being destroyed by a natural disaster after settlers desecrate sacred Native American land," the piece notes.

Film projects have been developed based on Disney rides, including the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise and the 2003 film "The Haunted Mansion."

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Former CIA Director Petraeus Maintains Starring Role on One Media Outlet

Former CIA Director David Petraeus, who stepped down from his job as news broke of an extramarital affair, is featured in a starring role in the latest version of "Call of Duty," an Activision game that released its latest update Tuesday, reports Advertising Age.

"Long before Mr. Petraeus' extramarital affair and FBI investigation into the matter came to light, he had already been written into the franchise," the story notes.

In the game, "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," Petraeus is depicted as secretary of defense and is seen on aircraft carriers and plane trips with the U.S. president, who was cast as a woman, the story notes.

"Given that Mr. Petraeus' disgraced departure coincides with the game's debut, it could make for a cautionary tale for video-game makers to include prominent figures and celebrities in their games. There's no telling when one might get wrapped up in a big media brouhaha," the piece points out.

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Today's Funny Must-Read: 'Love Letter' to Top Pollster Nate Silver From an 11-Year-Old. Excerpt: 'So maybe I should just keep fantasizing about you, because statisticians are the new sexy vampires, only even more pasty.'

Paul Rudnick, who wrote the very funny 1993 movie "Addams Family Values," also, on occasion, contributes a humorous column to The New Yorker.

He's got a funny one in the current issue of that magazine, called "A Date with Nate," ostensibly a letter penned by 11-year-old Emma Gertlowitz to the pollster of the hour, Nate Silver. [Note: This piece you can read on The New Yorker site for free.]

Here's a sample: "I know that you're too old for me and that if we actually met you'd probably be really nice and say something like 'I predict that someday you'll meet a boy who's 100% right for you,' and then I would tell you my secret, that I was totally crushing on this geeky anorexic goth boy but he turned out to be Ann Coulter. So maybe I should just keep fantasizing about you, because statisticians are the new sexy vampires, only even more pasty."

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CBS's 'Beverly Hills Cop' Drama Casts Lead Character, Son of Axel Foley

The television show "Beverly Hills Cop," in development at CBS, has cast its lead character, who is the son of the central character in the film series, Axel Foley, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

Aaron Foley will be played by comedian Brandon T. Jackson, best known for his role in "Tropic Thunder." Eddie Murphy, who played Axel Foley in the films, will appear in the pilot and may recur if the show is ordered to series. He's also executive producing.

The pilot is from Sony TV and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”). The drama is being developed as a continuation of the film franchise that launched with Murphy’s 1984 blockbuster.

brandon-t-jackson.jpgBrandon T. Jackson

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TVWeek Founder Rance Crain to Be Inducted Into Advertising Hall of Fame

Rance Crain, president, Crain Communications Inc. and editor-in-chief of Advertising Age, Crain's Chicago Business, Crain's New York Business and TelevisionWeek.com, has been named to the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Fame.

Crain founded a number of publications, including Electronic Media, which became TVWeek.

He will join his father, G. D. Crain, and his mother, Gertrude Crain, as members of the Hall of Fame.

Click here to read the press release on his induction, from Crain Communications Inc.

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TBS Orders Pilot Based on Long-Running Panel Show

TBS has ordered a pilot based on "Have I Got News for You," a BBC panel show that has been on the air in the U.K. for 22 years, reports Deadline.com.

The pilot was shot with comedian Sam Seder hosting and comedians Sherrod Small and Michael Ian Black as team captains. The program features a guest host and two two-person teams, with a focus on taking a satiric angle on current events and tabloid reports, the story says. It's along the lines of the popular U.S. radio show "Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me!"

Here's a clip of the U.K. show featuring "Sherlock's" Benedict Cumberbatch as guest host:

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One of NBC's Top New Series Showing Signs of Ratings Weakness

A show that has been helping NBC undergo a ratings turnaround this season hit an all-time low in the ratings Monday night, based on Nielsen overnight figures. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the freshman drama series “Revolution” fell to a series-low 2.6 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, a 7% dip from last week.

NBC still claimed a ratings win for prime time as a whole, powered by a two-hour episode of “The Voice.” The singing competition was the top show of the night with a 4.3 average in viewers 18-49, but that number was down from a 4.5 from a week ago.

For prime time overall, NBC led the way with a 3.8 in the 18-49 demo, ahead of CBS (2.5 average), ABC (2.2), Univision (1.6) and Fox (1.4). ABC pulled ahead in total viewers, averaging 13.1 million to 10.1 million for NBC, followed by CBS with 7.9 million, Fox with 5.1 million and Univision with 3.7 million.

CBS was paced by “2 Broke Girls,” which equaled its previous week’s performance with a 3.2 average in 18-49. The network notched 3.0 averages for both “How I Met Your Mother” and “Mike & Molly,” with both shows up 7% from last week. The bad news at CBS was delivered by “Partners,” which sank to an all-time low with a 1.8 average, falling 14% from a week earlier. “Hawaii Five-0” held steady with a 2.0.

ABC’s two-hour “Dancing with the Stars” rebounded a little from last week, rising 5% to a 2.2 in viewers 18-49. “Castle” was up too, rising 11% to a 2.1. The report notes that ABC’s numbers may be inflated due to football simulcasts in Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

Fox continued to see feeble results for “The Mob Doctor,” which managed only a 0.9 average rating in the 18-49 demo, down from a 1.0 last week. “Bones” slipped 5% to a 1.9.

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Video: ABC Affiliate Taken In by YouTube Parody, Airs Risque Version of Petraeus Book Cover in News Report

An ABC-affiliated TV station was apparently duped by a parody video that appeared on YouTube, and aired a clip during a news report that included an altered cover for biographer Paula Broadwell’s book about Gen. David Petraeus, The Huffington Post reports.

The clip, aired on “7 News” by KMGH-TV, ABC’s Denver affiliate, contains a brief view of what appears to be the book’s cover, which has been altered from its original title, “All In,” to read: “All Up In My Snatch.” The book appears during a report on the extramarital affair between Petraeus and Broadwell that resulted in Petraeus’ resignation as CIA director.

Here’s a brief video clip of the report, with the book cover appearing about halfway through the video:

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'Jersey Shore' Star Gets a Talk Show

One of the stars of "Jersey Shore" will star in a new talk show, reports Entertainment Weekly. The hybrid talk and reality series is MTV's “The Show with Vinny,” which will feature Vinny Guadagnino.

“The project will tweak the usual talk format by taking celebrities out of the studio and having Vinny interview them in his Staten Island home with his colorful Italian family,” the piece reports. “Celebrity guests will come over for a meal and candid conversation, with lots of commentary from his hostess mother Paula, his partying Uncle Nino and others.”

Said Chris Linn, MTV executive vice president of programming and head of production: "Vinny’s unique mix of humor, intelligence, curiosity and heart make him the perfect choice for this genre-busting take on the interview format. As the lives of the 'Jersey Shore' cast evolve, we are excited to explore new ground while still delivering the laughs and surprises that fans have come to expect from the franchise.”

"The Show with Vinny" will be executive produced by ‘Jersey Shore’ producer SallyAnn Salsano, along with MTV’s Jacquelyn French.

Guadagnino will also be involved in the “Restore the Shore” fundraiser, set for Nov. 15. The special aims to help out with rebuilding efforts in Seaside Heights after Hurricane Sandy.

vinny-guadagnino.jpgVinny Guadagnino

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'CSI' Star Files for Bankruptcy

An actor who was once a star on the most popular show on television now says he’s bankrupt, The Huffington Post reports. Gary Dourdan, who played Warrick Brown on the hit CBS drama “CSI,” filed for bankruptcy in August, according to a TMZ report.

“According to documents, the 45-year-old actor has $1.8 million in assets, but owes $1.73 million,” HuffPost reports. “A large chunk, specifically $1,689,704, is owed to various banks, one of which holds his mortgage.”

The actor spent eight seasons on “CSI,” leaving the show in 2008 after appearing on 183 episodes. TMZ reports that he now claims his monthly disposable income is $321. “He allegedly makes $14,883 per month, but $14,562 goes to bills. He ‘anticipates major acting roles’ in the future, however, which will help him pay off his debt,” Huffington Post reports, citing the TMZ story.

According to HuffPost: “The bankrupt Dourdan filed an injunction on Aug. 30 to prevent Wells Fargo from putting his Venice, Calif., home up for auction, CBS 42 reported. That same day, he filed bankruptcy papers.”

TMZ reported previously that Dourdan was arrested in June 2011 on suspicion of drug possession after being involved in a major traffic collision. Those charges were eventually dropped, but Dourdan has also reportedly had other drug-related skirmishes with the law, going back to 2008. HuffPost cites an AP report that indicates Dourdan was arrested that year for possession of cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and various prescription drugs, along with paraphernalia.

gary-dourdan.jpgGary Dourdan

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B&C's Grossman Moves to Twitter; Grego Named Editor-in-Chief

Ben Grossman has stepped down as editor-in-chief of Broadcasting & Cable to head up global operations for Twitter Media, B&C reports. The publication promoted our good friend Melissa Grego, a former editor here at TVWeek, to editor-in-chief.

Grego has been executive editor at B&C since 2008. Along with TVWeek, she previously held positions with The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, among other publications.

She becomes B&C’s first female editor-in-chief in its 81-year history.

“At Twitter, Grossman will report to Twitter vice president of media Chloe Sladden, who leads a team that develops partnerships with media, news and entertainment organizations, as well as athletes, actors, musicians, politicians, journalists, civic leaders and more,” B&C reports.

Grossman, who has been with the company since 2005, said: "It is with a heavy heart that I leave quite frankly the best team someone in my position could have. I can't thank them enough for their friendship, hard work, loyalty and undying curiosity about the ever-evolving media business. Melissa is a brilliant and natural leader who has taught me so much, and is absolutely going to evolve the brand to new heights. I also want to acknowledge and thank Louis Hillelson and NewBay Media CEO Steve Palm, who gave me the freedom and backing of which anyone would be jealous."

Hillelson, VP and group publisher of B&C parent company NewBay Media, added: "I want to thank Ben for his vision and dedication to the brand and we all wish him the best of luck with Twitter. Melissa is the natural choice to lead the B&C team going forward, and we are thrilled to have someone of her caliber to ensure not only a smooth transition, but to take the brand to new levels."

melissa-grego.jpgMelissa Grego

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ABC Increases Its Orders for Two Comedy Series

On the same day that ABC ordered a full season of freshman drama "Nashville," as previously reported, the network has also committed to more Friday night comedy, reports Deadline.com.

ABC ordered three additional scripts each of Reba McEntire's new sitcom "Malibu Country" and the sophomore series "Last Man Standing," starring Tim Allen. The two shows anchor ABC's Friday prime time from 8-9 p.m. ET.

The programs got off to great starts in their season premieres, but both shows saw their ratings fall significantly in week two, the report notes.

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NBC Shakes Up 'Today' Team, Ousts Show's Longtime Boss

In an executive shakeup, NBC is replacing the exec who has overseen the morning show "Today" since 2005, The New York Times' Media Decoder reports.

Jim Bell will be replaced by Alexandra Wallace, a senior vice president at NBC News, marking the first time a woman has been put in charge of the show, the story reports.

Bell is departing after a rocky year for the program. He spearheaded a campaign to remove co-host Ann Curry, and then was blamed for the damage done to the show by the transition, the story notes.

Bell will move to NBCUniversal's Olympics coverage, becoming a full-time executive producer there and reporting to NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus. It had been rumored that a shakeup was in the works.

After "Today" switched co-hosts, the program lost ground to ABC's "Good Morning America" in the morning ratings. “Today” has lost 10 consecutive weeks in the key demo of viewers 25 to 54, the piece adds.

While men have largely run television's morning shows, the programs' audiences are mostly women, with 65% of "Today’s” audience composed of women and 70% for "GMA."

The management shakeup is overseen by Patricia Fili-Krushel, chairwoman of the newly created NBCUniversal News Group, and Steve Capus, the chief of the network's news division. Fili-Krushel has been considering changes at "Today" since she was put in charge of the group in July by NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke, the piece adds.

Fili-Krushel declined an interview on Monday. She will likely tap a day-to-day producer of "Today" to work for Wallace, and may also make other changes, according to the report.

Wallace moved to NBC in 2005 from CBS, where she worked as a senior producer for that network's morning show. At NBC, she produced "Weekend Today" and then oversaw "NBC Nightly News" as its executive producer. In September, Capus asked her to take over the struggling prime-time show "Rock Center with Brian Williams," a role she could maintain while also overseeing "Today," the piece adds.

alexandra-wallace.jpgAlexandra Wallace

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Janeane Garofalo Gets Divorced -- After 20-Year Gag Marriage Turns Out to Be Real

Twenty years after a drunken, drive-through Las Vegas wedding between actress Janeane Garofalo and television writer Rob Cohen ("The Big Bang Theory"), Garofalo had to get a divorce to free him to marry again, reports the New York Post.

Garafolo and Cohen were working on "The Ben Stiller Show" at the time of the nuptials and got hitched as a goof, apparently not realizing that the marriage was legal.

At the New York Comedy Festival last week, Garofalo said, “Rob and I got married, for real, which we had to have a notary dissolve not 30 minutes before we got here tonight. We were married for 20 years until this evening. … We were married, and apparently now that [Rob] is getting married for real, his lawyer dug up something.”

While working on "The Ben Stiller Show," the pair dated. Recalling their romance, Garofalo quipped, "I'm sure I was terrible." To which Cohen added, "I can confirm that."

Noting that she no longer drinks, Garofalo said: “We got married drunk in Vegas. ... We dated for a year, and we got married at a drive-through chapel in a cab. [We thought] you have to go down to the courthouse and sign papers and stuff, so who knew?”

janeane-garofalo.jpgJaneane Garofalo

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Anti-Donald Trump Petition Gaining Momentum

A petition accusing "Apprentice" star Donald Trump of sexism and a "racially charged" campaign against President Barack Obama, and asking Macy's department store to stop carrying Trump brand products, has attracted nearly 450,000 signatures, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The petition, addressed to Macy’s head Terry J. Lundgren, is sponsored by MoveOn.org, a progressive advocacy group, the story notes.

“Donald Trump does not reflect the ‘magic of Macy's,’” the petition states. “We urge you to sever ties with him. Macy's says it has a strong obligation to be ‘socially responsible’ and that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Indeed. It's time to act.”

Macy's sells clothing and fragrances with the Trump brand, and sometimes features Trump in advertising campaigns.

“An ad released last week appears to play off of Trump's skepticism about Obama's true birthplace,” the report notes. “In the ad, Trump doubts the true identity of Kris Kringle as portrayed by Edmund Gwenn in the 1947 film ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’”

The ad also features Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and other celebrities. See for yourself:

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NBCUniversal Laying Off Employees

NBCUniversal is cutting its workforce in a round of year-end cost cutting, the Los Angeles Times reports. The company is laying off about 500 employees, or about 1.5% of its employees, the story reports.

The cuts will be spread throughout the media company. Some layoffs have already been made, including the "Tonight Show" cuts about two months ago, when about two dozen crew members were let go, the story adds.

A large number of the cuts are related to G4, the cable channel that focuses on video-game culture, which recently canceled two long-running shows, "Attack of the Show!" and "X-Play."

Layoffs are expected throughout the cable properties, as well as the NBC News group, the piece notes. The company’s Universal Pictures unit, whose home entertainment division has suffered from the industrywide dip in sales of DVDs, cut about 20 positions last month.

“Universal also decided to shutter its feature post sound studio after its staff completes work on current projects,” the piece reports. “The closure is expected to lead to the loss of another 20 people during the next year, a person familiar with the studio said.”

The report adds: “Creative executives who work within NBC Entertainment were spared, according to knowledgeable people. The Peacock Network is in the midst of a ratings revival, the only major broadcast network to post audience gains during the new fall TV season.”

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Cadillac Catfight: Outspoken TV Chef Trashes Cable Network on His Way Out the Door

The outspoken TV chef Anthony Bourdain, who recently wrapped up his run as host of Travel Channel's "No Reservations,” is taking aim at the network after it aired television ads he claims created a false impression in using his image, reports Advertising Age.

"It came as a shock and a disappointment to turn on the TV for the last two episodes of my show, and see that someone had taken footage that me and my creative team had shot for my show, cut it up and edited it together with scenes of a new Cadillac driving through the forest," Bourdain wrote on his blog.

Bourdain wrote that he's careful about incorporating brands into his series, and that his agreement with the Travel Channel gave him the right to approval before his name or image would be used to endorse products, according to the story.

He wrote that the Cadillac ad was edited to suggest he might be driving the car. The spot appeared to show that "if nothing else, I sure as shit was endorsing Cadillac as the vehicle of choice for my show," he noted.

In response, Travel Channel said, "We've enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Tony and his production team, but his decision to make further remarks on this matter in the public domain is unfortunate."

The chef is leaving the Travel Channel following the finale of "No Reservations," which aired Nov. 5, and will join CNN early next year.

Cadillac has said through a spokesman that “we’re in the crossfire of Bourdain’s feud with Travel Channel.”

Bourdain laments the trend toward product integration in general in his blog post, the Ad Age piece notes.

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Victoria's Secret Pulls Costume From Broadcast After Receiving Complaints About Insensitivity

After several groups complained about cultural insensitivity over a costume in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, the footage of the model wearing the outfit has been pulled from the broadcast, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The costume includes a Native American headdress, which caused the blog Native Appropriations to write that Victoria's Secret was guilty of "egregious cultural appropriation, stereotyping and marginalizing of Native peoples."

The fashion show, which was held Nov. 7 and will air Dec. 4, featured model Karlie Kloss modeling a leopard-print lingerie set while wearing a war bonnet. She also had on turquoise jewelry.

Indian Country columnist Ruth Hopkins wrote that costume trivialized her Native ancestry. "For one, Ms. Kloss has no business wearing a war bonnet at all," she wrote. "Not only is she not Native, she hasn’t earned the honor. Among my people, the Oceti Sakowin (Sioux), war bonnets are exclusively worn by men, and each feather within a war bonnet is symbolic of a brave act of valor accomplished by that man."

Both Victoria's Secret and Kloss apologized, with the model saying she supports the company's decision to remove the outfit from the broadcast.

Thumbnail image for karlie-kloss-victorias-secret.jpg

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ABC Orders Full Season of Freshman Drama

ABC has ordered a full season of a new drama series, the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports. The program is "Nashville," starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.

The series' October premiere ratings were soft compared with the buzz around the show, the story notes. The program's debut drew 9 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among viewers 18-49, although the show is now averaging 6 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in the demographic, the piece adds.

The show features Britton as a country singer whose career is in decline, just as her younger rival, played by Panettiere, is seeing her fame on the rise.

The network has also placed full-season orders for freshman sitcom “The Neighbors” and returning drama “Scandal,” the report notes.

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'CSI' Producer Developing Project About Female Investigator

"CSI" executive producer Carol Mendelsohn is working on a project for the CW called "Jane Whitefield," about a female private investigator who is also in search of her biological parents, reports Deadline.com.

The project, based on the "Vanishing Act" series by Thomas Perry, comes from CBS TV Studios and the studio-based Mendelsohn Productions, with Mendelsohn executive producing along with Natalie Chaidez, Perry, Bob Wunsch and Julie Weitz, the story adds. Chaidez is writing the project.

Mendelsohn also has "Second Sight," a drama based on a British series that starred Clive Owen, in development at CBS.

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Video: Barbara Walters Says She's Disappointed With Lindsay Lohan's Latest Moves

Barbara Walters said she was "disappointed" that Lindsay Lohan canceled an interview she had scheduled with Walters and then booked time with Jay Leno a few days later, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Walters talked about the canceled “20/20” interview on her ABC talk show “The View.”

When co-host Whoopi Goldberg implied that Walters is a tougher interviewer than Leno, Walters said, "I couldn’t agree with you more. ... If they’d said to me, ‘You know, Barbara, she isn't up to the kinds of questions that you might ask’ -- although most of them were comparing her life to Elizabeth Taylor: both child stars, both aggressive mothers, etc., and it would have been a wonderful, wonderful interview, and she could have set a lot of things straight. If they had told me that, I wouldn’t feel quite as disappointed as I do today.”

Walters added she had spent a lot of time preparing for the interview, including watching "Liz & Dick," the Lifetime movie starring Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor.

Lohan's new publicist called Walters on Friday to say the actress didn't "feel up to" the interview. Said Walters: "I could have had a more honest explanation."

Here’s the clip:

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E! Renews Reality Show

E! has renewed a reality show for a second season, the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports. The show is "Married to Jonas," whose first season debuted with 1.8 million viewers and held steady, the report notes.

The show tracks 25-year-old Kevin Jonas, the oldest of the Jonas Brothers, and his wife, Danielle. The second season is slated to debut next spring.

The show aired with a lead-in from "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and is executive produced by Ryan Seacrest.

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Report: 'Modern Family' Producers Wanted Child Star's Mom Banished From Set

The producers of ABC's "Modern Family" reportedly wanted the mother of Ariel Winter, who plays Alex Dunphy on the show, banned from the set because of her behavior, reports TMZ.com.

Winter's mother, Chrystal Workman, was disliked by the sitcom's crew, producers, actors and other mothers because she allegedly berated her daughter's physical appearance and banned her from eating anything except raw vegetables and egg whites, the story says.

That led the crew to allegedly plan to sneak the 14-year-old actress food such as grilled cheese sandwiches, the piece says.

As previously reported, Winter was removed from her home by a judge after allegations of abuse by her mother. Workman has denied allegations of physical or mental abuse.

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MTV Names New Head of Programming After Janollari Steps Down

MTV has a new head of programming after David Janollari, who held the post for the past two years, stepped down, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The cable network named Susanne Daniels -- formerly a top exec at both Lifetime and the WB Network -- as its new president of programming, the piece reports. MTV said Janollari’s decision to leave was his own.

“In Daniels, MTV gets a programmer who has a strong track record in finding shows aimed at teens and young adults,” the piece notes. “Among the shows Daniels championed in her WB days were the dramas ‘Dawson's Creek,’ ‘Gilmore Girls,’ ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Charmed.’ At Lifetime, Daniels was instrumental in the development of its hits ‘Army Wives’ and ‘Drop Dead Diva.’"

More recently, Daniels was a consultant with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable network.

Van Toffler, president of MTV Music and Logo Group, said: “Susanne’s delivered more breakthrough pop culture hits in one decade than most producers do in their entire lifetimes."

Daniels will report to Toffler and MTV President Stephen Friedman, the Times notes.

“Daniels' specialty is teen-angst drama, while MTV has found its biggest successes in recent years in over-the-top reality shows such as ‘Jersey Shore,’ ‘Teen Mom’ and ‘16 and Pregnant,’ and, of course, ‘The Real World,’” the story reports. “But some of those shows are getting a little long in the tooth and ‘Jersey Shore’ is in its last season. The cult hit about a group of young mostly Italian Americans who live for the gym, clubs and spray tans has spawned one spinoff -- ‘Snooki and JWoww.’ However, that show has failed to capture the magic of ‘Jersey Shore.’"

Janollari oversaw efforts by MTV to expand into scripted series after joining the channel in 2010. “One of the network's biggest gambles was a remake of the British hit ‘Skins,’ about a group of promiscuous and hard-partying teens,” the story reports. “MTV's version of ‘Skins’ got a lot of attention from media watchdogs who thought it went too far in terms of content but did not attract a large audience and was canceled after one season.”

Janollari also gave a push to "Awkward" and "I Just Want My Pants Back,” among other programs.

susanne_daniels.jpgSusanne Daniels

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Syfy Renews Drama Series

Syfy has made the decision to bring back a drama series for another season, B&C reports. The series is the supernatural show “Haven,” which will return for a fourth season, the story reports.

The 13-episode season will bow in 2013.

The show's third season is averaging 1.2 million viewers among adults 25 to 54, marking a 5% increase over season two, the story notes. Its third-season premiere, which aired Sept. 21, attracted a series high with 2.8 million total viewers.

Mark Stern, president of original content for Syfy and co-head of original content for Universal Cable Productions, said: "We couldn't be happier to see the story of Audrey Parker and the creepy, quirky town of Haven continue next year. Season three has hit a creative and critical high and we're very excited to see where the talented production team takes our colorful cast of characters led by the perfect trifecta of Emily Rose, Eric Balfour and Lucas Bryant in season four.”

The series is loosely based on the Stephen King novel “The Colorado Kid.”

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ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' Sinks to Historic Low

On a Sunday night when NFL programming on Fox and NBC shuffled the broadcast ratings, a number of shows equaled or set low points, according to Nielsen overnight figures.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” recorded a 2.7 average rating in the key 18-49 demo in the 8 p.m. hour, down 23% from a week earlier and a series low. But the report notes that overrun of an NFL game on Fox impacted numbers for the hour and will result in significant adjustments.

Also on ABC, “Revenge” fell to a season-low 2.4 in the 18-49 demo, down 11% from a week earlier; “666 Park Avenue” matched the series low from last week with a 1.3; and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” fell 18% to a 1.4.

NBC had a 7.0 in 18-49 for its NFL game, helping the Peacock Network win prime time overall in viewers 18-49.

Fox’s start times were off all night due to football, rendering the hourly preliminary numbers meaningless, the report notes.

CBS had its own downtrend, with “60 Minutes” down 50% from a week ago to a 1.7 in the 18-49 demo, “The Good Wife” equaling last week’s series low with a 1.7 and “The Amazing Race” slipping 8% to a 2.4, while “The Mentalist” held steady with a 1.8.

For prime time overall, NBC led the way with a 5.5 average rating in 18-49, followed by Fox (4.2 average), ABC (2.0) and CBS (1.9). NBC also won total viewers, averaging 15.0 million to 10.3 million for Fox, 9.9 million for CBS and 6.6 million for ABC.

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'ET' Names New Co-Anchor, Five Months After Departure of Mark Steines

"Entertainment Tonight" announced who the new co-anchor of CBS Television Distribution’s celebrity newsmagazine will be, Deadline.com reports.

Rob Marciano succeeds Mark Steines, who departed back in July after 17 years with "ET." Marciano will take his spot beside co-anchor Nancy O’Dell starting in January 2013.

Marciano has been with CNN as a news and weather anchor since 2003. He also was a field correspondent and fill-in anchor for CNN.

rob-marciano.jpgRob Marciano

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Report Triggers Speculation That MSNBC Fixture May Be on the Way Out -- But What's the Real Story?

A comment buried in a long election night story that ran in The New York Times has triggered speculation that MSNBC fixture Ed Schultz may be on the way out at the cable network. But TVNewser reports that it’s probably premature to scratch him out of the lineup.

“Buried around word 1,130 of Brian Stelter‘s 1,200-word New York Times piece on MSNBC’s election night, its ratings gains, strategy and future plans, is this bit, which, of course, is getting the most attention,” TVNewser reports, quoting the following passage from the Times story:

“Several MSNBC employees, who spoke about programming plans on the condition of anonymity, said the most likely candidate for a new show was the Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, a frequent substitute for Ms. [Rachel] Maddow. Mr. Klein may start with a weekend time slot, but these people said the 8 p.m. weekday time slot held by Mr. Schultz was also a possibility.”

TVNewser tracked down an MSNBC spokesperson, who told the website: “We’re very happy with the performance of our primetime lineup, which topped Fox News Channel three nights this week. There are no changes planned.”

The piece also reports: “An insider adds Klein is ‘a rising star’ but adds weekday primetime is set. And it seems odd that they would [replace Schultz]. Thursday night Schultz’s 11 p.m. ET re-air topped the re-air of cable news’ #1 show for the last 10 years, ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ among younger viewers. In October, Schultz delivered the best demo viewership in the 8 p.m. hours since March 2009.”

Schultz’s “The Ed Show” has held town the 8 p.m. slot for the past year. But the piece notes that MSNBC President Phil Griffin continues to groom new talent, with Melissa Harris-Perry and Chris Hayes, along with Klein, among the candidates to move into more prominent spots at the network.

ed-schultz.jpgEd Schultz

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Reporter for CBS Station Jumps to ABC News

News reporter Gio Benitez is leaving CBS-owned station WFOR-TV in Miami for a new position at ABC News, reports TVNewser. He will be moving to the New York headquarters, where he will be a correspondent reporting across all platforms.

Benitez will be on air starting in early 2013.

Benitez covered a number of top stories at WFOR, including the 2012 presidential election, the Trayvon Martin case and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood announced the hiring in a memo to staff Friday, calling Benitez "versatile and hard-charging" with a "dynamic storytelling ability."

Gio_Benitez.jpgGio Benitez

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MTV Cancels Long-Running Show

MTV has made the decision to cancel a long-running series, EW.com's Inside TV reports. The show, produced by "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson, is the dance competition "America's Best Dance Crew."

The show, hosted by Mario Lopez, enjoyed seven seasons on MTV, the story notes. With its cancellation, MTV will be losing two major reality shows, as "Jersey Shore" is also ending its run on the cable network.

MTV said in a statement: “We are grateful to Randy Jackson and Warner Horizon for having brought our audience seven amazing seasons of dance with ABDC, and look forward to more successful and dynamic entertaining collaborations in the future.”

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Hollywood's Hottest Power Couple Breaks Up

Two stars who, despite their youth, have been the hottest celebrity “power couple” during the past year have called it quits. Singer Justin Bieber and "Wizards of Waverly Place" star Selena Gomez split up, with Bieber reportedly ending their relationship before attending the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show last week, reports the New York Post's Page Six.

Reports varied about who broke up with whom, with People.com reporting that Gomez, 20, ended the relationship with Bieber, 18, about a week ago.

According to the Post, Bieber was seen at the VS Fashion Show asking models for their phone numbers and spending time with model Barbara Palvin, Page Six notes. Bieber's representatives declined to comment, while a rep for Gomez didn't respond, the story adds.

The pair had been on the edge of a breakup for six months, according to the story, with Gomez constantly checking up on Bieber. Gomez is filming "Getaway" in Los Angeles.

selena-gomez-justin-bieber.jpgSelena Gomez and Justin Bieber

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Report: Power Struggle at Warner Bros. Leads to 'Distrust and Disharmony'

A three-way battle for power at Warner Bros., meant to inspire a “collegial competition” among three strong execs aspiring to run the media giant, has instead led to “distrust and disharmony,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

CEO Jeff Bewkes set the competition in motion two years ago among Television Group President Bruce Rosenblum, Motion Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov and Home Entertainment Group President Kevin Tsujihara, declaring, “These three will work as a unit,” the piece notes.

“But the effort has inspired distrust and disharmony inside Warner Bros., the studio known for Batman, Bugs Bunny and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ as well as for its decades of management stability,” the Times reports.

“The three competing candidates ... do not work as a unit. They rarely meet as a trio or get involved in one another's businesses, according to several people associated with the studio who were not authorized to speak publicly.

“And although Bewkes said anyone jockeying or politicking for the job of Warner Bros.' chairman would ‘eliminate themselves’ as contenders, the three men have been maneuvering for position while their subordinates quietly advertise their bosses' qualities and rivals' shortcomings.”

The report indicates the power struggle has impacted morale on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. “Some insiders describe an atmosphere in which executives are hesitant to extend contracts, staffers are afraid to cross department lines for fear of ‘taking sides’ and potential partners are wary of signing long-term deals without knowing who will be in charge,” the story reports.

Said one Warner Bros. executive cited in the story: "People are very preoccupied with the issue of succession, and it creates an undercurrent of tension and awkwardness. It's like being a kid wondering if your parents are about to break up."

The piece notes: “The runoff officially launched in September 2010 when Warner's professorial chairman, Barry Meyer, agreed to postpone his planned retirement until the end of 2013 -- after 42 years at the company and 14 in the top job.”

Bewkes and each of the three candidates for the job declined to be interviewed for the piece, the Times notes. A decision on the job is expected early next year.

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ABC Reduces Order for Midseason Comedy

ABC has cut its order for a midseason comedy to 10 episodes, down from the original order for 13 episodes, reports Deadline.com. The series is "Family Tools."

The reason was scheduling, with the network determining that it needed the comedy for 10 weeks before "Dancing with the Stars" is slated to return. The comedy is scheduled to air Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m., helping to bridge the two cycles of the dance competition.

"Family Tools," based on the British series “White Van Man,” stars Kyle Bornheimer as a man who inherits his father's handyman business.

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Video: Jon Stewart's Interview With the Woman Who Was Revealed to Be the Mistress of CIA Director David Petraeus

Here’s an interview from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” recorded earlier this year as part of the book tour for “All In,” Paula Broadwell’s bio of Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned last week as director of the CIA over the affair:

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With Broadcast Ratings Down, Make-Goods Up and Scatter Inventory Tight, Who Wins?

There will be winners in the television advertising market this season, Advertising Age reports, with broadcast ratings down significantly for the fall season and broadcasters expected to use up much of their inventory on make-goods.

Ratings on broadcast networks are down 9% through week four of the fall season, the piece reports, and down 10% in the key demo of viewers 18-49. The resulting make-goods will put a squeeze on ad inventory in broadcast and could drive up prices, the report notes. But with little ad inventory up for grabs, broadcast networks will be largely unable to cash in.

So who wins? Potentially, cable, with ad dollars freed up and looking for a place to land. One problem, however, is that there may not be many ad dollars around.

Among the most likely winners in this scenario: Time Warner’s portfolio of cable nets, including TBS and TNT, along with Discovery Communication’s cable nets.

Media buyers, analysts and cable execs are all offering their assessments of the situation. Click here to read Ad Age’s full report and see what they’re saying.

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Video: 'The Simpsons' Is Quick to Mock Karl Rove's Election Night Performance

Just days after the presidential election, Karl Rove's election night performance on Fox News -- during which he refused to accept the network's decision to call Ohio for President Obama -- was mocked in the opening segment of "The Simpsons," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In Sunday's opening, Bart is seen writing sentences on the chalkboard, as usual. This time he writes: "I will not concede the election till Karl Rove gives me permission."

On election night, Rove spent about half-an-hour insisting there were too many outstanding votes to make declarations in the election, prompting anchor Megyn Kelly to walk to the decision desk to interview the network's experts, as previously reported.

Here’s the clip:

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'Love Boat' Writer and Producer Henry Colman Dies at 89

"The Love Boat" writer and producer Henry Colman, who also worked on other iconic TV shows such as "The Odd Couple" and "Green Acres," has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 89.

Colman started in live television, working on programs such as "Kraft Television Theatre," and then moved to Los Angeles in 1961 and worked as an associate producer on the dramas "Dr. Kildare" and "Peyton Place."

CBS Television tapped him as an executive producer in the 1960s, and he supervised shows such as "Green Acres" and "Hawaii Five-0." He moved to Paramount Studios in 1970, working as vice president of television programs and overseeing shows including "The Odd Couple." He moved to a similar role at Screen Gems two years later.

Colman worked as a producer on "Love Boat" for its first seven seasons, and wrote all or part of about 12 episodes.

Below is a clip of an interview with Colman for the Archive of American Television.

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Broadcast Networks Go After Aereokiller, File for Injunction

NBCUniversal, ABC, CBS and Fox have filed a lawsuit against Aereokiller in federal court in Los Angeles, requestion an injunction against the service owned by billionaire Alki David, TheWrap.com reports.

The move comes after a judge in New York ruled against the networks in a similar bid to block Barry Diller’s Aereo in July, as reported previously.

The services stream television programming over the Internet. “The networks claim that the service [Aereokiller] disrupts their ability to negotiate retransmission contracts and earn advertising revenue from the shows that are rebroadcast online,” TheWrap reports.

The lawsuit states: "Aereokiller's copyright infringement must be enjoined to prevent irreparable injury to Plaintiffs. Aereokiller's unauthorized streaming of Plaintiffs' programming rips that control from Plaintiffs, threatens their core business models, destroys their leverage in critical distribution negotiations, harms their ability to expand into new markets and interferes with Plaintiffs' goodwill with licensed distributors and advertisers."

The report adds: “The service -- which was originally launched on BarryDriller.com -- later moved to FilmOn and launched the Aereokiller app on Android and other mobile platforms.”

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Co-Creator of Long-Running Country Music/Comedy Show 'Hee Haw' Dead at 85

The co-creator of "Hee Haw" -- a country music and comedy show inspired by “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” that had a 20-year run in local syndication -- has died, the Los Angeles Times reports. Frank Peppiatt, 85, died of bladder cancer.

The variety show, which debuted on CBS in 1969, became one of television's "most unlikely and longest-running hits," the story notes. Set in fictional Kornfield Kounty, the series was built around country music and a brand of humor poking fun at rural Southern culture.

Peppiatt, with his writing and producing partner John Aylesworth, also developed programs for top stars, such as "The Julie Andrews Hour" and "The Judy Garland Show."

The pair's biggest hit was "Hee Haw," which was developed as a summer replacement for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," but after its ratings matched "Laugh-In," it was added to the CBS prime-time schedule, the story notes. it stayed on CBS until 1971 before moving to syndication.

"Hee Haw" co-host Roy Clark told the newspaper that Peppiatt was "one of the lifelines of 'Hee Haw.' He had the idea, and had the talent to make it work. He had this vision, and he wrote a lot of the jokes."

Clark, whose co-host for most of the run of the show was fellow country artist Buck Owens, added, "Even now, if I'm in New York, I can count on someone saying to me, 'I'm-a-pickin’,' and I'll always say, 'I'm-a-grinnin'."

Peppiatt said in a 2010 interview that he and his partner, both of whom were born in Canada, had never visited the American South before creating the series.

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After Canceling on Barbara Walters, Lindsay Lohan Schedules Appearance on Leno

After canceling her interview with Barbara Walters, Lindsay Lohan has agreed to appear on NBC’s "Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” fulfilling her contract to appear in one TV interview to promote her Lifetime project "Liz & Dick," reports the New York Post.

As previously reported, Lohan backed out of the Nov. 16 interview with Walters on "20/20" because her new PR firm was unhappy with the direction ABC wanted to take.

The PR firm was concerned Walters would ask questions about Lohan’s latest run-in with the law, which centers on allegations she lied to police about whether she was driving a car involved in an accident last summer, the Post notes.

Lohan will appear on Leno Nov. 20.

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BBC Director General and Two Other Top BBC Execs Step Down Over Erroneous Sex Abuse Report

The director general of the BBC resigned Saturday after controversy surfaced over a report that aired false claims by a sex abuse victim, reports CNN.com.

George Entwistle, who held the post for only 54 days, resigned after the BBC wrongly implicated a former senior politician, Lord McAlpine, in a story about child abuse, according to The Guardian.

"In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor in chief and ultimately responsible for all content; and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the 'Newsnight' film broadcast on Friday 2 November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director general," Entwistle said in a statement.

He read the statement in London, with the BBC Trust's chairman, Chris Patten, by his side, according to the story.

Entwistle had said earlier on a radio program that he had been unaware "Newsnight" was going to make a serious allegation about a senior politician, prompting some criticism that he was failing to remain on top of the broadcaster, the story notes.

He came under more pressure Friday, when McAlpine said the allegation was false and threatened to sue the BBC.

The crisis deepened today as two additional senior BBC executives stepped down temporarily, reports The New York Times.

The BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, stepped aside, the story notes.

The BBC is separately investigating an earlier incident involving "Newsnight" in which the program canceled an episode concerning allegations of sexual abuse by longtime BBC host Jimmy Savile.

The BBC said it expects Boaden and Mitchell to return to their roles once the Savile inquiry is completed, the story adds.

Lord Patten said Sunday that the BBC is in a "ghastly mess" and described the scandal as marked by "unacceptably shoddy journalism," the piece adds.

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CIA Director Resigns, Citing Extramarital Affair

News broke this afternoon that CIA director David Petraeus has resigned from his position, USA Today reports. Petraeus cited an extramarital affair in his letter of resignation.

“NBC's Andrea Mitchell said the resignation was submitted in a letter dated Friday and was accepted by the White House,” the story reports.

The piece adds: “In a letter, Petraeus noted that he had been married for 37 years and had exercised ‘extremely poor judgment' in conducting an extramarital affair.”

Petraeus became CIA director in September 2011 after serving as head of allied forces in Afghanistan, the piece notes.

david-petraeus.jpgDavid Petraeus

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NBC's 'The Voice' Hits a Ratings Low, While a CBS Drama Sinks to Its Lowest Number Ever

More low points were reached in Thursday night’s broadcast ratings, based on Nielsen overnight figures. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that NBC’s “The Voice” delivered a 3.0 average rating in the key demo of viewers 18-49, the lowest number ever for a results show.

On CBS, meanwhile, “Elementary” hit its lowest number yet in the 18-49 demo, a 2.2 average, down two-tenths from last week. And Fox’s “Glee” matched its season low with a 2.4.

The report notes that NBC’s numbers may be somewhat inflated because of an NFL simulcast in Indianapolis.

CBS still pulled out a relatively easy overall win for prime time, averaging a 3.2 rating in 18-49 to lead Fox (2.4 average), ABC (2.2) and NBC (2.1). CBS won big in total viewers, averaging 13.6 million to top ABC’s 7.1 million, NBC’s 6.0 million and Fox’s 6.0 million.

CBS continued to pull in big numbers for “The Big Bang Theory,” which was the top show of the night with a 5.0 average rating in the 18-49 demo, even though it was off from its 5.2 a week ago. Also showing continued strength was “Two and a Half Men” with a 4.0, up from a 3.6 a week earlier. “Person of Interest” matched last week’s 2.9.

ABC was paced by “Grey’s Anatomy,” which rose two-tenths from its previous original two weeks ago to deliver a 3.2 in viewers 18-49. “Last Resort” was also up slightly, rising one-tenth to a 1.4, while “Scandal” was steady with a 2.0.

On Fox, “The X Factor” held steady with a 2.3 average in 18-49, while “Glee” was down two-tenths from its previous original with its 2.4 average.

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Video: Why Is a CNN Anchor in a Twitter Feud With a Popular Young Actor?

[Updated Nov. 9, 2012, 2:10 p.m. PT, to correct a name in the last paragraph.]

An odd Twitter feud has broken out between a CNN anchor and a young comedic actor, with the anchor dishing on the whole affair on-air, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“The oddest Twitter fight pair in recent memory may be CNN anchor Don Lemon and Jonah Hill, star of ‘21 Jump Street,’" the story reports. “The fight began Thursday night when Lemon took to his Twitter feed and announced, ‘Said hi to @jonahhill in hotel. Think he thought i was bellman. Didn't know his name til bellman told me. A lesson to always be kind.’"

Hill replied with his own tweet, which has since been deleted. The tweet said: "@DonLemonCNN I said hi what do you want me to do move in with you? I was in a hurry. Didn't realize you were a 12 year old girl. Peace."

The Times reports: “Lemon, who is gay, wrote back, ‘Hardly. You're not my type. But I know rude. And u were.’"

Hill’s response: "@DonLemonCNN i walked out of the restroom and found you waiting for me. Shook hands, said hi and was on my way. Sorry if you found that rude."

Lemon was asked about the incident on-air on CNN and did his best to explain the whole thing, noting, “Jonah Hill treated me like the help.”

Here’s the clip:

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NBC Expands Order for Sitcom After Moving It to a Better Time Slot

NBC has expanded the season order for a sitcom that is set for its season premiere in a few days, Deadline.com reports. The show is the multicamera comedy “Whitney,” which is set to debut for season two on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

The network added five scripts to its original order for 13 episodes for the new season of the show, which is centered on comedian Whitney Cummings.

The move follows the decision announced last month to bring "Whitney" back in a better time slot, moving it from its scheduled Friday spot at 8 p.m. to Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

The show will be paired with the rookie sitcom "Guys With Kids" when it bows next week.

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Twitter Comes Clean About Password Gaffe

Twitter revealed Thursday that it had accidentally reset many users' passwords after a few accounts had been hijacked, reports TheWrap.com. On Wednesday night, the company inadvertently reset a "larger number" of accounts than had actually been hacked.

An email notified users whose passwords had been altered. It read, "Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter. We've reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account."

On the website, Twitter wrote: "In this case, we unintentionally reset passwords of a larger number of accounts, beyond those that we believed to have been compromised. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused."

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'Once Upon a Time' Actor Joins Mira Sorvino on TNT Pilot

The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced TNT drama pilot "Trooper," which stars Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, has added "Once Upon a Time" actor Eion Bailey to the cast, reports Deadline.com.

The project tracks a recently divorced female state trooper, played by Sorvino, as she deals with work and her three kids and takes an unconventional approach to police work. Bailey will play her partner -- a widowed father with a more conventional approach to policing, the story notes.

Sorvino won an Oscar in 1996 for her supporting role in the Woody Allen film “Mighty Aphrodite.”

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Canceled AMC Series May Get a New Season After All

A drama series that was canceled earlier this year by AMC is close to a deal for a third season with the help of streaming service Netflix, reports Deadline.com. The series is “The Killing,” which was canceled two and a half months ago by AMC.

AMC would get the first window on a third season of the mystery drama, the piece adds. The deal would be the result of an effort by the show's producer, Fox TV Studios, to keep the series going. A strong pitch for the third season from the show's developer, Veena Sud, helped the deal along.

AMC would share the costs of "The Killing" with Netflix, and the series, which has had the cast locked in for the third season, could restart production in February.

The split-window deal is similar to one that worked for "Friday Night Lights," which was close to cancellation after its second season until NBC partnered with DirecTV to keep it going.

The deal would help AMC with its programming, given that it's facing the loss of "Breaking Bad" and might only have two additional seasons of "Mad Men." Additionally, the future of "Hell on Wheels" is uncertain after the departure of its showrunner.

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What's the Biggest TV Story This Season? (Hint: It's About One of the Networks)

The biggest story of this television season, according to readers of MediaLife responding to a survey by the publication, is the improbable turnaround of NBC, with the network favored to win the November sweeps and holding the top spot in the ratings among adults 18-49.

When the publication asked its readers to name the biggest TV developments this fall, almost half (47.1%) responded that it was NBC's turnaround, the story notes.

DVR viewership was a distant second, with 30.9%, while about 15% cited the biggest story as the overall declining ratings for networks. About 7% said the big story was the fall's lack of new hit shows, the piece adds.

Readers singled out NBC as the network most likely to win the sweeps with viewers 18-49, and named the network's drama "Revolution” as the biggest hit of the season.

But it wasn’t all good news for NBC. Asked what the fall's biggest bomb has been, the clear winner was NBC's canceled "Animal Practice." CBS’s "Made in Jersey," also canceled, finished in second place, while ABC's "666 Park Avenue" came in third.

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NBC Gives Full-Season Order to Freshman Drama Series

NBC has given a full-season order to a freshman drama, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed. The network expanded its order for "Chicago Fire."

The drama starring Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer was the first new drama of the 2012-13 season to beat its premiere rating among viewers 18 to 49, the story notes. The most recent episode was helped by a lead-in from "The Voice," since “Fire” usually airs after "Law & Order: SVU," the story notes. “The Voice” was moved to Wednesday night because of the presidential election.

The show joins "The New Normal," "Revolution" and "Go On" in receiving full-season orders from NBC.

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MSNBC's Chris Matthews Apologizes for Election Night Remark About Hurricane Sandy

MSNBC host Chris Matthews apologized on-air Thursday for a comment that suggested he was glad Hurricane Sandy happened because it helped the election, reports TVNewser.com.

After President Barack Obama's re-election, Matthews said he was "so glad" for Sandy, because it "brought in possibilities for good politics.” Later he clarified that his statement meant the storm helped bring together people with different political viewpoints.

On Matthews’ latest program, he apologized.

“It was a terrible thing to say, period,” he said. “I was too deeply enmeshed in political thinking, deep in a world of numbers and issues and people and stakes and all focused on who would win and who would lose, but I left out the number one job of anyone on-air, on television or on the radio, to think about the real lives of people, their losses, their relatives and friends who died in this disaster.”

Here’s a clip of Matthews’ apology:

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Cult Hit to Return With New Season, Winter Special

A cult hit series will return in January with a 10-episode third season, and will have a special winter episode in December, reports New York Magazine's Vulture blog. The show is IFC's "Portlandia."

The special, set to air Dec. 14 at 10:30 p.m., is called "Winter in Portlandia." The show will feature Peter and Nance dealing with winter weight gain, among other issues.

The third season will premiere Jan. 4 at 10 p.m. and will feature the return of Kyle MacLachlan's mayor and Chloe Sevigny appearing as Fred and Carrie's new roommate, the piece adds.

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Best Non-TV Story of the Day: 'Super-Earth' Planet Discovered, Believed to Be Capable of Supporting Life

Scientists have discovered what’s being described as a “super-Earth” planet where conditions are right for the planet to sustain life, Business Insider reports.

The planet, which has at least seven times the mass of Earth, is one of six planets orbiting a star called HD 40307, 42 light-years from Earth. The planet circles its star at a distance that would allow it to support life, according to researchers.

A light-year is about 6 trillion miles, the piece notes.

“Scientists discovered three planets that closely orbit HD 40307 in 2008. A reanalysis of the data found three new planets, all much larger than Earth, that also orbit the host star,” the story reports.

“The study, led by Mikko Tuomi from the University of Hertfordshire and Guillem Anglada-Escude from the University of Goettingen, was announced on Wednesday, Nov. 8, and will be published in a future issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.”

The other five planets are considered to be too close to the star to have water, and therefore would not be capable of sustaining life. “But one planet, called HD 40307-g, orbits in the star's ‘habitable zone,’” the story notes. “Essentially, the distance from its star is just right to support life -- it isn't too hot that liquid water would boil away, and the exoplanet receives enough energy from its star that its climate and atmosphere could be similar to Earth.”

Researcher Anglada-Escude said in a statement: "The star HD 40307 is a perfectly quiet old dwarf star, so there is no reason why such a planet could not sustain an Earth-like climate."

Researchers think “the planet rotates on its own axis as it orbits around the star, creating a daytime and night-time effect that would simulate the environment on Earth,” the piece adds.

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Weather Channel Starts Naming Winter Storms -- But the National Weather Service Is Not Pleased

The Weather Channel has started giving names to winter storms, similar to how hurricanes are given alphabetical names. But the network's decision drew a stern comment from the National Weather Service, reports TVNewser.com.

The Weather Channel is already onto its "B" name in the alphabet, after using Athena as a name for the Nor'easter that brought wind and snow to the Northeast this week. "Brutus" was expected to bring blizzard conditions to Montana yesterday, the story notes.

But the National Weather Service issued a comment about the practice, stating: “TWC has named the Nor’easter ‘Athena..’ The NWS does not use name (sic) winter storms in our products. Please refrain from using the term Athena in any of our products.”

The report adds: “Weather Channel’s sister network NBC is getting in on the naming action, sort of. In his oh so glib way Wednesday on ‘Today,’ Matt Lauer said, ‘This is, I guess, winter storm Athena, is what they call it right now.’”

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Report: Authorities Skeptical About Claims by Mother of 'Modern Family' Star in Abuse Case

Authorities are said to be skeptical about claims from the mother of "Modern Family" star Ariel Winter, 14, that she was trying to protect her daughter from a relationship with an 18-year-old man, reports TMZ.com.

As previously reported, Winter was removed from her home by a judge after allegations of abuse by her mother.

Law enforcement is skeptical because her mother, Chrystal Workman, allegedly didn't mention anything about the relationship until after she lost custody on Oct. 3, although she claims the relationship had been going on since the summer, the story adds.

The story reports: “Court sources tell us the first time Chrystal mentioned ANYTHING about an illicit relationship was during the guardianship hearing last month ... when she began ranting in court and called the guardianship lawyer a ‘moron.’"

Workman reportedly testified about a particular incident, saying: "I caught my daughter with her boyfriend in bed -- she's 14. He's 18 and I threw him out and I broke them up."

A law enforcement source is cited as saying authorities don’t believe a sexual relationship existed between Winter and the youth.

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'American Idol' Contestant Picked to Host 'VH1 Divas'

VH1 has tapped an "American Idol" runner-up to host "VH1 Divas," which will be broadcast live on Dec. 16. The show will be hosted by “Idol” alum Adam Lambert, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The show will also feature another "Idol" competitor, the sixth-season winner, Jordin Sparks, the story adds. Other stars set to appear on the show include Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Ciara and Kelly Rowland, with proceeds from the event going to VH1's Save the Music foundation.

The evening will include tributes to the late divas Whitney Houston and Donna Summer.

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Lindsay Lohan Pulls Out of Interview With Barbara Walters at the Last Minute; Move Follows Report of New Legal Problem for Lohan

Lindsay Lohan has canceled her interview with Barbara Walters, which had been scheduled to air Nov. 16 on ABC's "20/20,” Deadline.com reports.

The decision was apparently made by Lohan's new PR firm, Rogers & Cowan, which was unhappy with the direction ABC wanted to take the interview, the story says.

The spot was geared toward promoting Lohan's Lifetime movie "Liz & Dick," in which the actress plays Elizabeth Taylor. The Lifetime project premieres Nov. 25.

As previously reported, Lohan, who has had numerous run-ins with the law in recent weeks, is expected to be charged with lying to police for allegedly telling them she wasn't driving a Porsche when it collided with an 18-wheeler in June on Pacific Coast Highway.

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Chuck Lorre Apologizes for 'Idiotic Game Shows' Comment

"Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre apologized for calling "The Bachelor" an example of "idiotic game shows," according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

Lorre made the comment about the show in one of his vanity cards airing at the end of "The Big Bang Theory." He apologized on Thursday's vanity card, writing that he was wrong to view the show through "the tired old eyes of '60s feminism" when in fact the nation is in a "post-feminist era," the story notes.

"Women are now free to do anything they want, and that includes going on a reality show and using all their female wiles to snag Mr. Right," Lorre noted. "I really don't know what else to say except, 'I'm sorry and, um... you go, girl!'"

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Something to Quack About: Offbeat Reality Show Tops Critically Acclaimed Drama in Head-to-Head Showdown

Two very different shows went head-to-head earlier this week for the honor of top-rated cable show of the night, and the win went to “Duck Dynasty” -- an A&E reality show about a Louisiana millionaire family that makes duck calls -- over the critically praised FX drama "American Horror Story," James Hibberd reports on EW.com's Inside TV.

"Duck Dynasty" drew 3.6 million total viewers Wednesday night, along with a 1.7 rating in viewers 18 to 49, while "American Horror Story" attracted 2.6 million total viewers and a 1.5 rating in the demographic. Both shows air at 10 p.m. Wednesdays.

"'Duck Dynasty' has been doing great on Wednesday nights, so this performance isn’t really shocking, but it’s fun to compare these two very different shows, apples to ducks," Hibberd writes.

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Key NBC Show Takes a Big Hit in the Ratings

One of NBC’s top shows of the season suffered a ratings setback Wednesday night, according to Nielsen overnight figures, but the network was still able to win the night.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that NBC’s two-hour “The Voice” settled for a 3.7 average rating in the key demo of viewers 18-49. That was down almost a full rating point from last Tuesday’s 4.6 average -- with at least part of that dip attributable to airing out of cycle as the show was moved to Wednesday because of the presidential election.

The Wednesday installment of the hit singing competition helped pump up its leadout; “Chicago Fire” delivered a respectable 2.3 average rating in 18-49 at 10 p.m., up 27% from the 1.6 it had a week earlier and tied with CBS’s “CSI” for the top spot in the time period.

NBC was the outright winner for prime time in viewers 18-49 with a 3.2 average rating, ahead of ABC (2.8 average), CBS (2.7) and Fox (2.6). CBS claimed the top spot in total viewers with 10.9 million, topping NBC (9.3 million), ABC (8.0 million) and Fox (7.0 million).

ABC was up across the board, paced by “Modern Family,” the top show of the night with a 4.7 in the 18-49 demo -- a significant uptick from its 4.2 a week ago. “The Middle” rose two-tenths to a 2.8, “Suburgatory” was up five-tenths to a 2.9, “The Neighbors” was up two-tenths to a 2.1, and “Nashville” ticked up two-tenths to a 2.0.

CBS had mixed results, with “Survivor: Philippines” up two-tenths from a week ago to a 2.7 in 18-49 and “Criminal Minds” up one-tenth to a 3.0, while “CSI” slipped one-tenth to a 2.3.

Fox’s two-hour “X Factor” was down one-tenth from last week in the 18-49 demo, settling for a 2.6.

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Video: Popular TV Personality Reveals She Has Thyroid Cancer

A popular television personality posted a moving video in which she reveals that she has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Extra reports.

Brooke Burke, known for co-hosting “Dancing with the Stars” along with a number of other TV gigs, taped the message to her fans, which she posted on YouTube. In the video, Burke talks about her plans for thyroid surgery and how the diagnosis has impacted her life, vowing to “make a positive out of this negative thing.”

Here’s Burke’s video:

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Fox News Contributor Dick Morris Explains His Election Prediction Goof

Dick Morris, a major talking head on Fox News, appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" to explain how his prediction of a landslide victory for Mitt Romney in the presidential election was so far off, reports FoxNews.com.

Morris told O'Reilly, "I goofed, I made a mistake. I undercounted the minority turnout and women and young people, single women. I thought that the 2008 turnout was a fluke. I think on your program many times I said that if the turnout is what it is in `08, then the polls are accurate and Obama is going to win. But they are not."

When O'Reilly asked whether Morris' credibility as an authority had taken a blow, Morris boasted, "Well, you know, anybody else who's gotten the president of the United States elected, tell me you are better than I am at it." Morris was Bill Clinton's campaign manager for a period of time during the 1996 election, in which Clinton won a second term.

Morris later distanced himself from the Clintons and has been critical of both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

About his prediction, Morris added: “I said you need to average '04, '06, '08 and '10 and take the average so that you get rid of the outlier. Well it turned out not to be an outlier. ... It turns out to be a trend.”

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Plans Unveiled for Sports Talk Kingpin Jim Rome's New Showtime Show

Showtime has taken the wraps off its plans for sports talk veteran Jim Rome, whose new show on the pay-cable network will roll out Nov. 21, Deadline.com reports.

“Jim Rome on Showtime” will be an hour show, starting at 10 p.m.

“Episodes will feature monologues, interviews, and in-depth features and profiles of influential figures in the world of sports and entertainment,” the story reports. “The show is taping in L.A. and is produced by Generate Entertainment. Rome’s CBS Sports Network show Rome debuted in April.”

The piece notes: “Jim Rome signed a wide-ranging deal with CBS Corp. at the beginning of the year to host shows on CBS Sports Network and Showtime, and later went all-in with the company by moving his famed sports radio talk show to the new CBS Sports Radio network, which launches January 2.”

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Premiere Set for 'Sex and the City' Prequel

The CW has scheduled a premiere date for its prequel to the HBO hit "Sex and the City," TVLine.com reports. "The Carrie Diaries" will debut Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, at 8 p.m. ET.

The new series features Carrie Bradshaw before her adventures as a single woman in New York City.

The CW also revealed that beginning that same night, "90210" will move into the 9 p.m. ET time slot -- previously the "Gossip Girl" slot.

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Jermaine Jackson -- Michael Jackson's Older Brother -- Petitions Court to Change His Last Name

"Jermaine Jackson wants to change his name to something a little brighter," the Associated Press reports.

The story continues, saying that Jackson is "asking a court to allow him to alter his famous surname and become Jermaine Jacksun. The older brother of Michael Jackson filed a name change petition on Tuesday in Los Angeles, stating the switch was for 'artistic reasons.'

jermainejackson.jpg

Wants to become Jermaine Jacksun

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Actress on 'Modern Family' Removed From Home Over Abuse Allegations

Ariel Winter, who plays teenager Alex Dunphy on ABC's "Modern Family," has been removed from her home by a judge after allegations of abuse by her mother, TMZ.com reports.

Winter's mother, Chris Workman, denied the allegations, according to People.com. "It's all untrue, it's all untrue," Workman said, according to the story. TMZ names Winter’s mother as Crystal Workman.

The judge determined the charges were serious enough that he placed Winter in temporary guardianship with her older sister, Shanelle Workman, on Oct. 3, TMZ.com reports. Her mother was also ordered to stay 100 yards away from Winter.

According to court papers cited by People.com, Winter alleges her mother subjected her to "ongoing physical abuse (slapping, hitting, pushing) and emotional abuse (vile name-calling, personal insults about minor and minor's weight, attempts to 'sexualize' minor, deprivation of food, etc.) for an extended period of time."

The older daughter allegedly suffered the same abuse as Winter, the TMZ story says, adding that the Department of Children and Family Services removed Shanelle from her mother's home almost two decades ago, based on similar allegations. The older daughter was placed in foster care for more than two years and never returned to her mother, according to TMZ.

A court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20.

ariel-winter.jpgAriel Winter

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Emmy-Nominated Writer-Producer Behind 'Happy Days' Dead at 78 -- He Came Up With the Name 'Fonzie' and Is Credited With Suggesting the Shark-Jumping Scene

The man credited with naming the iconic character “Fonzie,” along with later suggesting the infamous 1977 shark-jumping scene that would add the phrase “jump the shark” to the cultural lexicon, has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Happy Days" writer-producer and Emmy nominee Bob Brunner was 78.

Brunner often worked with "Happy Days" creator Garry Marshall, with the two meeting in 1959 when they were both copyboys for The New York Daily News.

Brunner, who died of a heart attack Oct. 28, moved into television writing for ABC's "The Odd Couple," which was executive produced by Marshall.

After writing for "Laverne & Shirley" and "Blansky's Beauties," Brunner wrote 15 episodes of "Happy Days" and produced 37, while also at times serving as showrunner, the piece adds. He created the nickname "Fonzie" for the character Arthur Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler, and came up with his catchphrase "Sit on it!," the piece notes.

The 1977 episode in which Fonzie challenges a local kid to a water-skiing contest created the term "jump the shark," which came to mean the moment when a popular TV show starts its inevitable decline, according to the piece.

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USA Network Has Good News/Bad News for 'Burn Notice'

USA Network gave good news and bad news to the series "Burn Notice." The good news is that the spy drama was renewed for a seventh season, but the bad news is that the season will be shorter -- just 13 episodes, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

The order will bring the show's episode count to 100, the piece notes.

The show has gotten more expensive, which might explain why USA ordered a shorter season. The program has recently aired 18-episode seasons, which indicates the show's popularity with viewers. A 13-episode order is more typical for cable dramas, the story notes.

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What the F--k Is Up With Show Titles? Four in Development Use the F-Word in Title

The short-lived CBS comedy "$#*! My Dad Says" may have been testing the waters for acceptance of swear words -- or some toned-down form of them -- in show titles, as four programs currently in development have the word "fuck" in their titles, reports Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

"While so-called 'fleeting expletives' have gotten broadcasters in hot water with threats of steep fines, curse words slowly but surely have been creeping into show names," she writes.

The 2010-11 development season had two projects with "bitch" in their names, although the word wasn't spelled out on air, with ABC eventually putting one on the air as "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23" and the other, also at ABC, surfacing as "GCB," an abbreviation for, among other things, “Good Christian Bitches.”

This development season, four comedies are in the works with "fuck" in their titles: Adam Goldberg's "How the Fuck I'm Normal," ABC's "Dumb Fuck," NBC's "Fuck I'm in My Twenties" and writer Ali Rushfield’s "Grow the Fuck Up," the story notes.

"Are we getting close to the first on-air American TV series with the F-word in the name?" Andreeva asks.

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Charlie Sheen Accused of Threatening to Shoot a Man to Death

In a case that is reportedly under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, actor Charlie Sheen allegedly threatened to shoot a man to death with a semi-automatic shotgun, TMZ.com reports, citing a police report filed with the LAPD.

The man making the allegations claims to be a former associate of Sheen's and filed the report Oct. 18. He claims he's afraid Sheen will kill him based on a text message Sheen allegedly sent to a mutual friend, which reportedly read, "I'll blow his head off with my Super 90."

The message reportedly followed a bad falling out between Sheen and the man who filed the report.

TMZ said it reached out to Sheen for comment but hasn't received one.

The report adds: “A source close to the actor wouldn't go into detail ... but told us, ‘The accuser is a dishonorably discharged military person with multiple probation violations who is trying to shake him down for money.’"

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Anti-Muslim Filmmaker Sentenced to Prison

The filmmaker behind the notorious anti-Muslim film “Innocence of Muslims,” Mark Basseley Youssef, was sentenced Wednesday to one year in prison, the Los Angeles Times reports. Prosecutors and the judge said the sentence was unrelated to the content of the movie.

“Youssef was arrested in late September after a trailer for the film, which portrays the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and a pedophile, was uploaded onto YouTube and caused widespread outrage,” the story reports. “Youssef was under a type of federal probation at the time, and admitted to violating terms of that probation in court Wednesday.”

Said Assistant U.S. Atty. Robert Dugdale: "I'm not going to say much about the movie because he's not here because of the content of the movie."

“Youssef, who was on supervised release after a 2010 conviction on bank and credit card fraud, admitted to four violations, including lying to his probation officer and used bogus names,” the Times reports. “In exchange, prosecutors dropped four other counts, which included allegations Youssef lied to federal authorities in telling them his role in the film's production was limited to writing the script. Prosecutors also said they had agreed not to file new criminal charges based on Youssef's false statements to his probation officer.”

An attorney for Youssef told reporters outside the courtroom that Youssef was being punished for exercising free speech, the piece reports.

Said Steven Seiden, the attorney: "In my opinion, the government used these proceedings to chill my client's 1st Amendment rights.”

Youssef was sentenced to one year in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release, the report notes.

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Fox Suffers Court Setback in Effort to Block Dish Network's AutoHop Service

A U.S. District Court judge refused to grant Fox Broadcasting's first attempt to block Dish Network's AutoHop service, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq.

While the court order by Judge Dolly Gee is under seal and attorneys for both sides declined comment, the report says the preliminary injunction was refused. Nevertheless, the ruling might not be a total victory for Dish because the judge might accept some copyright infringement theories, the story adds.

"Both sides are presenting the ruling in the most favorable light," the report says. "Dish's service has several features to it, and the judge's decision likely has some nuance to how she sees different elements of the ad-skipping technology. According to sources, Gee's ruling is a rather peculiar one, which remains under seal to allow both parties to redact certain confidential trade information."

Fox said in a statement that it is "gratified the court found the copies DISH makes for its AutoHop service constitute copyright infringement and breach the parties’ contract."

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Sundance Developing Projects From Steve Buscemi, Ira Glass, Robert Redford

The Sundance Channel has projects on its 2013-14 development slate from "Boardwalk Empire" actor Steve Buscemi and "This American Life" host Ira Glass, as well as from Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford, reports TheWrap.com.

Buscemi's project is "Behind the Sun," which tracks a family that discovers its only child has a rare allergy to the sun. Dylan Gary of "Tell Me You Love Me" is writing the project.

Redford will produce "Valentines," based on a novel by Olaf Olaffsson. It follows a successful New York attorney and his three daughters, whose lives aren't all they seem, the story notes.

Glass is working with his "This American Life" colleague Alissa Shipp to produce "T," about a transgendered male. The project will track Terrence as he adjusts to his current life and his previous identity as Thora, a lesbian at Mount Holyoke College, the story says.

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Sequel to Controversial 2011 Miniseries 'The Kennedys' in the Works

ReelzChannel and Muse Entertainment are working on a sequel to the 2011 miniseries "The Kennedys," with the follow-up expected to be structured as an eight-episode program, like the original, reports Deadline.com.

The sequel would be based on the book "After Camelot," which was published earlier this year. It would pick up after the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Neither Joel Surnow, who worked as executive producer on the original miniseries, nor Asylum Entertainment, which co-produced it, is involved in the sequel, the piece adds.

The report notes: “’The Kennedys’ stirred controversy when it was abruptly dropped by History, the network that had commissioned it, shortly before it was to hit the air under what sources described as political pressure from the Kennedy clan. In a turnaround, with all major networks passing on the hot-potato project, ReelzChannel stepped in to pick it up for its first foray into original programming. The gamble paid off as ‘The Kennedys’ put the fledgling channel on the map. Despite lukewarm reviews, the mini delivered strong ratings and four Emmys, including lead actor in a movie/miniseries for Barry Pepper.”

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Netflix Increases Its Huge Lead in the Web Video Market

Netflix has increased its dominance in online viewing, bucking predictions that newer competitors would take away subscribers, reports Bloomberg.

The streaming service represented 33% of prime-time Web viewing, based on Internet traffic, in September, more than Amazon.com, Hulu and Time Warner's HBO Go by a multiple of at least 18, according to a report from the network services and research company Sandvine.

"I don’t know whose library is better or bigger, but it’s very clear that people use Netflix a lot more," said Dave Caputo, chief executive officer of Sandvine. The company released its “Global Internet Phenomena Report” Wednesday.

Netflix's share of Web viewing traffic has climbed from 20.6% in the second half of 2010, and was up slightly from 32.7% a year ago, the piece notes.

Amazon’s market share in September was only 1.75%, according to the report, while Hulu was at 1.38% and HBO Go came in with 0.52%.

Sandvine predicts that Netflix should maintain at least a 10-fold lead over rivals through 2014, the story adds.

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'Officer and a Gentleman' Director Bringing Naval Series to TV

The Oscar-winning director of the 1982 hit “An Officer and a Gentleman,” set in Naval flight school, is revisiting Naval airspace for a new TV project. Taylor Hackford -- whose impressive string of feature films also includes “Ray,” “Dolores Claiborne” and “The Devil’s Advocate” -- is co-creating a new show for the CW called "Norfolk," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The project focuses on the lives of loves of characters living at the Norfolk Naval Station. Hackford will executive produce with Sera Gamble, best known for "Rizzoli & Isles." Gamble will write the script. Bill Haber, also with "Rizzoli," will also executive produce.

Hackford's last military effort on television was "E-Ring." He won an Oscar in 1979 for best short film, live action, for “Teenage Father.”

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Former NBC Entertainment Chief Sells Dramas

Drama projects are in the works at both Fox and NBC from the former head of NBC Entertainment, Deadline.com reports.

Warren Littlefield’s Littlefield Co. is teaming with writer Thompson Evans on the projects, including “Night Hunters” for Fox, which focuses on New York undercover officers who pose as cab drivers. The project is produced by ABC Studios, the piece notes.

The NBC project is “Max General,” set in a big-city hospital’s trauma wing. The project comes from Universal TV.

Evans is executive producing both projects with the Littlefield Co.’s Littlefield and Ann Johnson.

The report notes: “Littlefield Co. also has ‘Metropolis,’ a drama from Rob Thomas, set up at the CW; ‘Fargo,’ written by Noah Hawley based on the Coen brothers’ 1996 feature film, at FX; as well as ‘The Damned,’ based on the Oni comic book series and written by David Hayter, at Showtime and CBS Prods.”

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Ratings Winners Among Broadcast, Cable Nets in Election Night Coverage

“The American people have spoken, and the results are in,” TheWrap.com reports, focusing on ratings for Election Night coverage among the broadcast networks. “NBC has been declared the winner in the 2012 election.”

On the the cable side, "CNN took the presidential prize last night among the cable news networks, just beating Fox News’ coverage," Deadline.com reports, adding, "However, when it comes to the primetime hours of 8-11 PM ET, Fox News Channel hit an all-time viewership high with an audience of 11.5 million."

NBC’s coverage was down slightly from the numbers it delivered for the 2008 presidential election, TheWrap notes, citing preliminary numbers. But the Peacock Network topped its broadcast rivals.

“While the nature of election coverage renders all of the networks' numbers more approximate than usual, NBC currently holds a commanding first place in the advertiser-cherished 18-49 demographic with a 4.6 rating/10 share -- a 2 percent dip from the 2008 election -- and in total viewers with 12.6 million,” TheWrap story reports.

Placing second was ABC, with a 3.8/8 in viewers 18-49 and 11.1 million total viewers. “The network took the biggest hit versus 2008 among the networks, dropping 18 percent in the demo compared to the Obama-McCain election,” TheWrap report notes.

Third-place CBS was the only broadcast network to post an increase over 2008, rising 8% to a 2.7/6 with 8.4 million total viewers.

“Fox came in fourth in ratings and total viewers, posting a 2.0/4 -- a 9 percent drop from 2008's preliminary numbers -- and 5 million,” TheWrap report adds.

On the cable side,  the Deadline report adds, "CNN’s 7 PM-2 AM coverage of President Barack Obama’s re-election won in both total viewers and the 25-54 demographic. CNN had an average of 8.836 million total viewers over the night with 4.387 million in the 25-54 demo. FNC was close second with 8.708 million total viewers with 3.494 million in the demo. MSNBC came a distant third with 4.604 million viewers with 2.021 million among adults 25-54."

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Report: Web-Connected TVs to Reach Nearly 600 Million by 2017

Web-connected televisions will reach 596 million sets worldwide by 2017, up from just 105 million at the end of 2010, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which cites a report from Digital TV Research.

China will see a huge jump in growth, with the country expected to have 93 million connected TVs by 2017, compared with just 2 million at the end of 2010.

All together, Internet-connected TVs will represent 21.4% of all television sets by 2017, up from less than 5% at the end of 2010, the piece adds. The U.S. will have the biggest penetration, at 38.1%, according to the story.

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Amazon to Go Head-to-Head With Netflix, Slates Test of Monthly Fee Plan

Amazon.com is positioning its video-streaming service to compete more directly with Netflix and Hulu by testing a $7.99 monthly subscription plan, reports Advertising Age.

The plan will be available for its Prime members. While Prime membership costs $79 per year, Amazon's website has been updated to say the service charges $7.99 per month, which is more expensive on an annual basis, the story points out.

The monthly fee is the same as Netflix's streaming service and Hulu Plus. While Amazon has been considered a likely candidate to buy Netflix, the new pricing plan may indicate that's less likely, the story adds.

"They are trying to make it look more competitive with Netflix in order to win over new customers from Netflix," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.

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Election Night Produces the Most Re-Tweeted Post of All Time on Twitter

A photo of Barack Obama celebrating his re-election as president of the United States has become the most re-tweeted post in the history of Twitter, BBC News reports.

The photo, initially posted by Obama, shows him hugging first lady Michelle Obama. It was posted along with the words “four more years.”

As of early this morning, the post had been re-tweeted more than a half-million times. As news of the president’s re-election broke last night, 327,452 related tweets were being posted every minute, the story notes.

The photo also reportedly broke records as the most “liked” photo on Facebook. Here it is ...

barack-obama-retweet-record2.jpg

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Post-Election Analysis: Forget About the Intersection of Madison Avenue and Vine Street. Power Players Want to Know More About the Junction of Madison Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue -- The Real Reason Obama Did So Well in Swing States and Won Re-Election

One of the major factors in President Obama's successful re-election bid was realizing that to get votes on Main Street it would be smart to adopt a lot of the sophisticated marketing techniques of Madison Avenue. Read how the Obama camp did it in this insightful essay by TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross, if you click here.

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What Was Up With Diane Sawyer? #Drunkdianesawyer Trends on Twitter

Diane Sawyer's coverage of the presidential election on ABC News drew some viewers' attention, but maybe not the kind of attention she intended, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

A number of viewers said they thought Sawyer was slurring her words, and Twitter lit up with comments, the story notes. The hashtag #drunkdianesawyer was one used by many Twitter users.

"Diane Sawyer's Election Night performance left some viewers asking if she had begun celebrating Tuesday's election a bit early," notes the Associated Press. "Sawyer spoke more slowly than usual while seeming to prop herself on outstretched arms at the anchor desk she shared with George Stephanopoulos."

An ABC spokesman didn't comment, according to the AP.

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Donald Trump Calls for March on Washington After Obama's Win

Donald Trump went on a Twitter rant on Election Night as the tide turned toward President Obama's re-election, calling for a march on Washington and describing Obama's win as a "disgusting injustice," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Trump, who stars on NBC’s "Celebrity Apprentice," called on his followers to "march on Washington and stop this travesty." Trump had recently questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S. and had offered $5 million to charity if the president released his college and passport records.

In one tweet, the real estate mogul wrote: "Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.”

At one point during the night, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney still held a lead in the popular vote but Obama was racking up electoral votes, Trump called the electoral college "a disaster for America."

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Video: Distrust of Obama's Lead Lasted Late on Fox News

A distrust of President Obama's lead in the presidential election lasted late into the night on Fox News, leading to what The New York Times calls " the most bizarre on-air encounter of election night."

Karl Rove was the source of the conflict, with the conservative consultant insisting that the network should be more "cautious" about calling Ohio for President Obama, the story notes.

After a beat of silence, co-anchors Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier offered to get a number cruncher from the decision desk to talk about why they made the call, the story says.

"And so ensued the most bizarre on-air encounter of election night: a network anchor interrogating Arnon Mishkin, a member of the Fox News decision team and a respected voting analyst, forcing him and a colleague to defend their news judgment against Mr. Rove, one of the most powerful Republican fund-raisers and strategists," the article notes.

Although Rove and other conservatives expressed doubt about the election's results, many of them had become pessimistic about presidential hopeful Mitt Romney by 10 p.m., according to the report.

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Our Pick as Must-Read Story of the Day: News Corp.'s Chase Carey Unhappy About 'Viewership Patterns' on Fox Broadcasting. Says Measurement Needs to Be Better

News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said fall television ratings for Fox Broadcasting are "below our expectations," and blamed changing viewership patterns rather than mediocre shows, reports Deadline.com.

"There is no question that you are seeing an ongoing change in how people view this content," Carey noted. He spoke on a quarterly conference call to discuss earnings, although News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch didn't participate.

Carey added that the San Francisco Giants’ four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series “was not what we had hoped for," according to the report.

Carey said that as viewers increasingly turn to DVRs, VOD and mobile devices to watch programming, “We need to work with Nielsen and others to see how we measure that viewership.”

“He also would like to see the cable industry move more quickly on initiatives including dynamic ad insertion for VOD, and TV Everywhere,” the piece notes. “’We’re not where we should be’ on that, he says. ‘We need to make sure we continue to grow the business model.’ On the advertising front, Carey says that sales seem to be improving but he sees limits to the market right now.

Given the importance of the comments made in this analysts call about TV, we urge you read the full transcript of the call on the Seeking Alpha website, which you can find if you click here.

To whet your appetite, here's an edited excerpt:

Jessica Reif Cohen of  Bank of America-Merrill Lynch:

"[L]ove to get your point of view of what do you think is happening with viewers overall? I mean, some networks have very strong ratings. Many, many are down. It really does seem like the appointment viewing is a thing of the past and how [are] you guys thinking about it in terms of how you capture these viewers. [W]hat are the discussions like with Nielsen?"

Unidentified Company Representative:

"I think there is no question that [there] is an ongoing change in how people view this content. I think the content viewership is actually strongest than it’s ever been, the sunlight is stronger than it’s ever been. I think the ability to access content when you want, where you want, multiple platforms, out of the home, in the home makes this content more valuable, but the fact of the matter is people are watching in a lot of different places, not just linear networks.

"Linear networks are going to be tremendously important launching product, but people are watching it on DVRs and digital platforms, on VOD, inside the home, and outside the home and I think we need to continue to work with Nielsen and others to figure out how do we first measure that viewership. Clearly, parts of it like VOD after three days and mobile platforms are being measured.

"We need to get it measured. The dual revenue stream obviously becomes increasing important, TV Everywhere becomes a part of that to make sure you have got business. You have to have the ability [to] get rewarded for that viewership wherever it is. Some of it is going to be through subscription-based payments, some of its going to be through advertising. We need to do both. We need to make sure we find ways to continue to maximize the value of that through things like dynamic ad insertion to make advertising more valuable.

"I think all of these are really opportunities for us to continue to make, to continue to grow this business. Again, I think this actually is a real opportunity because as content gets more valuable, more popular, more important we need to make sure we continue to grow the business model that enable us to get rewarded for creating and distributing great content."

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CW Picks Up 1970s Drama From Mila Kunis

The CW has picked up a 1970s drama from actress Mila Kunis, who is slated to executive produce but not act in the project, reports EW.com's Inside TV. The project focuses on the women’s liberation movement.

Called "Meridian Hills," the project is set at a "boozy Midwest country club" in 1972, a time when a push for the Equal Rights Amendment was beginning, the story notes.

Kunis, who was recently named Esquire's "Sexiest Woman Alive," previously starred on the comedy series "That '70s Show."

If it moves ahead with a series order, "Meridian Hills" will be the CW's second flashback drama, with the first being “The Carrie Diaries,” the 1980s prequel to "Sex and the City.”

Thumbnail image for mila-kunis.jpgMila Kunis

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ABC Developing Workplace Comedy From Chelsea Handler

ABC has put into development a workplace comedy executive produced by Chelsea Handler and co-written by and starring Fortune Feimster, a series regular on Handler's "Chelsea Lately,” reports Deadline.com.

The project, "Discounted," is about half-sisters, one of whom is played by Feimster. The sisters are trying to keep their family's furniture store in business. Their challenges include misfit employees and competition from a Danish furniture store called “Wud," as well as dealing with their own relationship.

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One of the Stars of the Original 'Star Wars' Movie Wants a Role in 'Episode 7'

One of the stars of the landmark 1977 feature film “Star Wars” -- which eventually became known as “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” -- wants to be a part of “Episode 7,” now in development at Disney.

Carrie Fisher, who starred as the iconic Princess Leia in "Star Wars" and its two sequels, told TMZ.com that she would love to have a role in "Episode 7," which is due in 2015.

Asked whether she would take a role, Fisher replied, "Yes. Sure. Wouldn't you?" "Episode 7" will follow "Return of the Jedi" in the “Stars Wars” timeline, which would make Leia older in the film, the piece adds.

Fisher also noted that she believes George Lucas was lowballed with Disney's $4.05 billion purchase of the “Star Wars” franchise, saying he should have received $500 million more, the piece adds.

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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Cable-Bundling Lawsuit

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a class-action lawsuit filed by cable and satellite subscribers that alleges channel bundling violates antitrust laws, reports B&C.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit in March, noting that the plaintiffs hadn't stated a plausible claim. The plaintiffs had sought a Supreme Court review of the decision, but it was denied on Monday, the piece reports.

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Amazon Buys Animated Comedy From 'Big Bang Theory' Actors

Amazon has bought an animated comedy from two actors on the hit CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," Deadline.com reports. The project comes from actors John Ross Bowie and Kevin Sussman, known for their roles as Barry Kripke and comic book store owner Stuart, respectively, on the show.

Called "Dark Minions," the comedy tracks two opinionated misfits who work for "the man" on an evil space station, the story notes. Bowie and Sussman, who became friends while guest starring on "Big Bang Theory," will executive produce.

Amazon has been boosting original comedy and children's programming development.

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Pay-Television Operators Seeing Zero Growth

Pay-television operators such as cable companies and satellite operators are in a zero-growth business, with many reporting a slowdown in subscriber growth during the third quarter, reports the New York Post.

The slowdown is a result of some households deciding to go without pay television and to seek TV programming through other sources, the piece notes. Measured by number of customers, the pay-TV industry was flat compared with a year earlier.

When compared with a pickup in housing formation, the statistics mean that “pay TV penetration of America’s households is therefore falling, even while the number of pay TV subscribers is still inching higher,” according to Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett.

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President Obama Projected to Win Re-Election by Fox News, Other TV Outlets

President Barack Obama has been projected to win re-election, reports Fox News and other media outlets.

Said Fox News, "President Obama will win re-election, Fox News projects. The call comes after the president was the projected winner in the crucial battleground of Ohio, and subsequently won both Iowa and Oregon. This put Obama over the required 270 electoral votes."

All of the major TV and cable news outlets projected Obama's re-election within minutes of one another.

NPR lagged behind its TV brethren in calling the election.

Wrote The New York Times, "Barack Obama was re-elected as president on Tuesday, the television networks projected, defeating Mitt Romney after a long, hard-fought campaign that centered on who would heal the battered economy and on what role government should play in the 21st century.

"The president’s official Twitter account quickly posted: 'This happened because of you. Thank you.' "

The Times added, "CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News all projected that Mr. Obama would defeat Mr. Romney after concluding that he would win the necessary 270 electoral votes."

As of 8:50 p.m., PT, CNN was reporting that the Romney camp was saying Romney was not yet willing to concede. At about the same time Karl Rove told Fox News that he was not convinced that Obama would win Ohio.

Almost at the same time John King, over on CNN was using his "magic board" of Ohio counties to reiterate that Obama would win Ohio and that Romney could not catch him.

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Martha Stewart Sitcom Headed to Fox

Lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart apparently enjoyed her recent guest spot on the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls,” because now she has plans to take the plunge into comedy in a big way.

Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com that Stewart is executive producing the single-camera comedy “The Tao of Martha” for Fox.

“The project, from Imagine TV and 20th TV, is based on Jen Lancaster’s upcoming book ‘Tao of Martha,’ which is in the vein of ‘Julie And Julia,’ with domestic diva Stewart as a role model instead of cooking icon Julia Child,” Andreeva writes.

The report adds: “’The Tao of Martha’ centers on a highly disorganized, scattered former party girl who decides she needs to grow up after her husband leaves her because he can’t handle her chaotic lifestyle anymore. She decides to kill two birds with one stone: become a better role model for her daughter and write a new book about changing her life according to the ‘teachings’ of Martha Stewart.”

Austin Winsberg, creator of “Jake in Progress,” is on board as showrunner and will write the script. He will also executive produce with Stewart and Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo.

“Stewart is not attached to star but may make occasional, mostly voice-over appearances,” the piece notes.

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Damon Lindelof ('Lost,' 'Prometheus') Predicts 'Biggest Event Movie in the History of Modern Cinema'

Damon Lindelof has had success in television -- as co-creator of “Lost,” producer of “Crossing Jordan” and writer for “Nash Bridges” -- and in film, including co-writing Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.” So he knows a thing or two about what makes a hit, and he says in an interview with Rolling Stone that Disney’s recently announced “Star Wars Episode VII,” planned for release in 2015, has the makings of perhaps the biggest hit ever.

“I can say this with 100 percent confidence three years out,” Lindelof told the magazine, “the biggest event movie in the history of modern cinema. The level of excitement and anticipation about ‘Episode VII’ is going to be double what it was for ‘Episode I.’”

Lindelof, who also produced the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot, is familiar with the big-screen sci-fi terrain. But when it comes to the prospect of a “Star Wars” sequel, he’s basically just another fan.

“My first knee-jerk reaction was just a tremendous level of excitement and enthusiasm,” he said. “I really believed that I would not see another ‘Star Wars’ movie as long as George Lucas was still alive. You know, he's a pretty hale and hearty guy, so that's a long time from now. I had totally written off the idea of ever seeing a ‘Star Wars’ movie with my 6-year-old son. So for that to all change in the space of five seconds, where suddenly two summers from now that's gonna happen -- it's just about the most awesome thing ever.”

He also offered a suggestion about casting. “My feeling is that they have to bring back the original actors,” he said. “How can you express that these movies take place after the original trilogy unless some of those characters are in it? I don't feel that they have to be at the epicenter of the drama, and I definitely think they should introduce new characters. People don't want to hear the same songs over and over again, but if you see the Rolling Stones, they better do ‘Satisfaction’ as an encore.”

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Former NBA Star Charles Barkley Says He Wants Out of Broadcasting

Former NBA star and popular basketball broadcaster Charles Barkley, who has been an NBA analyst with TNT for 13 years, may be ready to end his television run, reports the New York Post. Barkley gave an interview with SI.com and revealed that while he has four years on his current contract, he's spent.

"I love my job. I love the people I work with. And I'm going to try to do things to keep me engaged,” Barkley said. “But I have four years left on my current deal and to be honest with you, it's going to be a struggle for me to make it for the whole four years. I really don't know how much longer I'm going to do this. I need something more, or something else to do, to be honest with you.”

Barkley has indicated that he has aspirations beyond basketball. He played in the NBA for 16 years before becoming a basketball broadcaster. One area of interest to him is politics; he hinted at a run for governor of Alabama.

Barkley told SI.com, "When I got to my fifth year of broadcasting I was like, 'OK, I'll do this a couple of more years.' But now I'm like, 'Dude, you have been doing this for 13 years and if I make it to the end of the contract it will be 17 years.' Seventeen years is a long time. It's a lifetime in broadcasting. I personally have to figure out the next challenge for me."

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Beer Maker Unhappy With Its Role in New Denzel Washington Movie

In the new Denzel Washington film "Flight," the actor plays an airline pilot who over-indulges in beer, vodka and gin, a fact that has Anheuser-Busch InBev upset because its beer is prominently displayed in the movie in a negative light, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In one scene in particular, Washington's character is shown drinking a Budweiser while driving. Anheuser-Busch InBev takes exception to that depiction of its product.

Rob McCarthy, a vice president at Budweiser, told the Associated Press, "We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving."

Paramount declined to comment on the complaint. The Hollywood Reporter cites fair usage to explain the film's use of a variety of well-known brands of alcohol.

"Flight" opened Nov. 2 and grossed $25 million in its opening weekend.

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'The Voice' Carries NBC to a Monday Ratings Win

Things got back to normal Monday night for the broadcast lineup after a period of disruptions and pre-emptions related to Hurricane Sandy. When the dust settled, it was NBC carrying the night with another solid performance by “The Voice,” according to Nielsen overnight numbers.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the two-hour “The Voice” delivered a 4.5 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, down two-tenths of a point from last week. NBC’s “Revolution” pulled a 2.9, down from a 3.0 a week ago. The report notes that NBC’s numbers may be subject to more than the usual adjustments due to an NFL simulcast in New Orleans.

NBC won the night by averaging a 4.0 in viewers 18-49 for prime time, well ahead of CBS (2.5 average), ABC (2.0), Univision (1.7) and Fox (1.5). ABC won total viewers, averaging 12.3 million to 10.7 million for NBC, 7.6 million for CBS, 5.4 million for Fox and 4.3 million for Univision.

CBS was paced by “2 Broke Girls” with a 3.3 in 18-49, up two-tenths from its previous original episode, which aired three weeks ago. “How I Met Your Mother” had a 2.8, down four-tenths from its last original; “Mike & Molly” had a 2.8, down two-tenths; “Partners” held steady with a 2.1; and “Hawaii Five-0” slipped one-tenth to a 2.0.

ABC continued its recent downtrend, with its two-hour “Dancing with the Stars: All Stars” slipping two-tenths from last week to a 2.1 in viewers 18-49 while “Castle” was off three-tenths to a 1.9.

Fox’s “Bones” remained at a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo, while the struggling “Mob Doctor” perked up a bit, rising one-tenth to a 1.0.

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Disney/ABC Fundraising Effort Brings In $16.8 Million for Hurricane Relief

The Disney/ABC Television Group announced that its national “Day of Giving,” held Monday, Nov. 5, raised more than $16.8 million for the American Red Cross to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The multiplatform effort involved messaging across the group’s news outlets, daytime, prime-time, late-night, syndicated programming, cable, online and stores.

“This unprecedented response joins The Walt Disney Company’s existing relief and rebuilding efforts announced by Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, which include a $2 million cash commitment to those severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” the company announced. “One million dollars will be donated to the American Red Cross for immediate, critical assistance, and another $1 million will be designated for organizations working on rebuilding efforts.”

Click here to read the full press release from Disney/ABC Television Group.

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Showtime Working on Ambitious Climate-Change Documentary With James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub

An eight-part documentary on the impact of climate change is in the works at Showtime with high-powered principals involved, including James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub, TheWrap.com reports.

Citing individual with knowledge of the project, the piece says “The Years of Living Dangerously” will feature well-known actors serving as reporters, “seeking out victims of drought, hurricanes and pestilence so they can tell their stories.”

A sizzle reel has already been completed, but the schedule for completion of the project is unknown, the report adds.

“The documentary will underscore the connection between those tragedies and a shifting climate, giving the issue a human face,” the story reports. Showtime is reportedly still seeking additional funding for the costly project.

The pay-cable network declined to comment, and reps for Cameron and Weintraub did not return requests for comment, the piece notes.

Producing the doc are David Gelber, an exec producer at CBS, and Joel Bach of “60 Minutes.”

The report notes: “The environment has long been an issue dear to Cameron, whose 2009 blockbuster ‘Avatar’ has been interpreted as an allegory for mankind's deleterious impact on the environment.”

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It's Election Day, and We Already Have Unprecedented Results From the Tiny Town That Votes First in the Nation

"By tradition, the unincorporated village of Dixville Notch, N.H., located in Coos County, is one of two locations that get to cast the first votes of the presidential election just after midnight on Election Day," reports the Huffington Post.

The story continues, "This year, Dixville Notch residents cast their votes in a tie: five votes each for President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. It was the first time in Dixville Notch's history that a tie was recorded."

Separately, the Associated Press reports that the other New Hampshire town that also votes at midnight, ET, had different results, "In Hart's Location, Obama had won with 23 votes, Romney received 9 and Libertarian Gary Johnson received 2 votes. Thirty-three votes were cast in 5 minutes, 42 seconds."

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Stage Mother to End All Stage Mothers Dies at 79

She was a modern-day version of Mama Rose in "Gypsy" -- that is, the stage mother to end all stage mothers.

Teri Shields, 79, "who long exerted an iron fist in guiding the career of her daughter Brooke Shields from the time the actress-model was 11 months old, died in Manhattan last Wednesday after what is described as a long illness," reports People. 

The story notes that Teri Shields "had suffered from dementia, a spokesperson for Brooke Shields told The New York Times, which reported the elder Shields' death."

People adds that the relationship between Brooke Shields and her mother "was said to have hit the rocks as Brooke, now 47, matured and Teri apparently still attempted to manage her daughter's career ..."

The People article continues: "'When she was born Brooke looked like a beautiful doll," Teri recalled for People [in 1978]. 'I couldn't believe she was mine.'

"At 11 months Brooke was paid $25 to pose for an Ivory Soap ad -- and her professional career was launched. She then went on to work for such prestigious clients as Breck, Band-Aids and Colgate.

"Then came two controversial gigs: the 1978 movie 'Pretty Baby' [released when Brooke Shields was 13 years old], a period piece set in a New Orleans bordello in which Brooke played a teenage prostitute and had a nude scene, and provocative Calvin Klein jeans ads. 'Nothing comes between me and my Calvins,' Brooke said in the spots."

According to The New York Times' obituary, Teri Shields told TV interviewer Bill Boggs a few years after "Pretty Baby" was released that back then "Fortunately, Brooke was at an age where she couldn’t talk back.

"In that interview Teri Shields said that people who accused her of exploiting her child were jealous. She also spoke bluntly about her daughter’s appeal. 'They see total innocence, which is totally there,' she said, as Brooke sat beside her. 'And two, they have the sexy child too, they have the sexy person -- that appeals to them.'

"Mr. Boggs interrupted: 'Yeah, it’s the forbidden fruit.'

"Teri Shields responded, 'Yes, and yet it’s all wrapped up in one, and that is really appetizing.'"

teriandbrookeshields.jpg

Teri Shields (left) with her daughter Brooke

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Spinoff of a Spinoff of a Spinoff

Here's a throwback to the days when "Laverne & Shirley" was spun off from "Happy Days," which was itself a spinoff of an episode of "Love, American Style."

A spinoff of CBS’s "NCIS: Los Angeles" is in the works, with the new program slated to be introduced in a two-part episode of "NCIS: LA" later this season, reports Deadline.com.

"NCIS: LA" is itself a spinoff of the original "NCIS." And NCIS, in turn, was a spinoff of "JAG."

The new spinoff will track a mobile team of agents as they travel the country solving crimes and are forced to live and work together, the story adds. In its fourth season, "NCIS: LA" has drawn solid ratings and receives one of the highest off-network syndication license fees for a drama, the story adds.

The untitled spinoff will be written and executive produced by "NCIS" and "NCIS: LA" executive producer Shane Brennan, and produced by CBS TV Studios.

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Controversial Program Gives Nat Geo Its Highest Ratings in a Year

National Geographic Channel earned its best ratings in more than a year with the airing of a program that drew criticism for what some believed was a partisan bias -- "SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden," reports TheWrap.com.

As previously reported, the network defended its decision to air the film two days before the election, saying it wasn't political. The film dramatizes the events around bin Laden's killing.

The program drew a 1.4 rating in the 25-54 demographic, four times higher than the channel’s average in the Sunday 8-10 p.m. time period this season, the story notes. It was the highest performance in the 25-54 demographic for the network since the August 2011 broadcast of "George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview."

The telecast averaged 2.7 million total viewers, with 4.7 million viewers tuning in for at least six minutes of the program.

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Report: Lindsay Lohan to Be Charged With Lying to Police -- Which Is a Big Problem for Her Due to Her Probation

Actress Lindsay Lohan will be charged with lying to police, according to a report on TMZ.com. The anticipated charge is in connection with a June 2012 car accident on Pacific Coast Highway, the piece reports.

As previously reported, Lohan was driving a Porsche when the car collided with an 18-wheeler.

The actress reportedly told police that she was not driving the car when it hit the truck, but multiple witnesses said she was, the story notes.

She will face a misdemeanor charge from the Santa Monica City Attorney, with the charge possibly to be filed this week. The charge could cause problems for Lohan, who is on probation for a jewelry theft and could have a probation violation triggered by a criminal charge. The judge in the jewelry case could send her to prison, the piece notes.

The report adds: “Law enforcement sources tell us ... cops found prescription pills in her purse after the crash. Witnesses tell us pills were also scattered in her trunk. Our sources say authorities were prepared to charge LiLo with drug crimes, but Lindsay's lawyer, Shawn Holley, gave cops documentations from Lindsay's doctor, saying the pills were properly prescribed. Authorities then backed off that charge.”

The report notes that Lohan “almost dodged that bullet” on the charge of lying to authorities. TMZ reports: “You may recall, after the accident, Lindsay went to the hospital where she was interviewed by cops, and that's when she told them she wasn't behind the wheel. Her lawyer, Shawn Holley, made a mad dash for the hospital to muzzle her client ... but she was a few minutes too late.”

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lindsay-lohan.jpgLindsay Lohan

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Long-Awaited 'Battlestar Galactica' Prequel to Be Released Friday

The long-awaited "Battlestar Galactica" prequel will be rolled out Friday, with the film airing as 10 short episodes on Machinima's YouTube channel, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

The first episode will be released Friday, Nov. 9, with the subsequent installments rolled out over the following four weeks. Syfy will then air the two-hour version of "Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome" in early 2013, followed by an unrated version on home video.

"Blood and Chrome" was first developed as a series for Syfy after the end of its critically acclaimed "Battlestar Galactica" reboot, the piece adds. The project tracks the young William Adama during the first Cylon War.

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Freshman CBS Drama Tapped for Post-Super Bowl Spot

CBS announced that it will air a freshman drama in the post-Super Bowl spot, an hour that can draw huge audiences for a program, reports Bill Carter in The New York Times' Media Decoder.

The show is "Elementary," the contemporary Sherlock Holmes series.

"The network announced the move Monday, which follows what has been a CBS pattern: using the enormous audience for the game -- over 100 million viewers -- to lift a new show by exposing it to hordes of viewers," Carter points out.

CBS picked the reality show "Undercover Boss" the last time it aired the game, and attracted 38.6 million viewers to the then-new series. While it was a hit its first season, "Boss" has since faded, Carter points out.

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After Icahn Takes a Stake, Netflix Adopts Poison Pill

Following activist investor Carl Icahn's purchase of a 10% stake, Netflix has adopted a shareholder rights plan -- also known as a "poison pill" -- to deflect hostile takeovers, reports the Los Angeles Times' Company Town blog.

The move was designed to protect the streaming and rental service from outside bids that are "not in the best interests" of the company or shareholders, the story notes, citing Netflix.

Icahn responded by calling the plan "an example of poor corporate governance."

Under the plan, the poison pill would be triggered if an individual or group tried to purchase a large piece of the company without its board's approval. If such a purchase happened, Netflix would issue new shares, flooding the market and making a takeover extremely costly, the story notes.

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Advertising Industry Focused on Huge Super Bowl Anniversary -- Which Is Coming Up in 2016

The advertising industry is focused on an upcoming event that is so big it can be identified pretty much by a single letter, “L.” More accurately, it’s 2016's Super Bowl 50, called "The L" for the Roman numeral it will carry, reports Brian Steinberg in Advertising Age.

"Without question, the [National Football] League will focus very heavily on the anniversary," said Omnicom Group's Optimum Sports managing director Tom McGovern.

It's likely that NFL sponsors will get first dibs on the promotion, starting in the fall of 2015. Still, it's so early -- after all, it’s still unknown which teams will be competing in the 2013 Super Bowl -- planners haven't even picked a host city for 2016.

"Advertisers who have a long tradition of running ads on the Super Bowl would be well advised to emphasize this heritage and appeal to nostalgic feelings," said Villanova School of Business marketing professor C. Raymond Taylor, according to the article.

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Hulu Strikes Deal With CBS

Hulu has reached an agreement with CBS to air the network's catalog of reruns, including shows such as "Medium" and "Numb3rs," reports Bloomberg.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The contract means that Hulu will now provide programming from the top four U.S. broadcast networks. The streaming service, which is owned by Walt Disney's ABC, Comcast's NBC and News Corp.'s Fox, will also rotate some CBS shows on its free, ad-supported service, the story adds.

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ABC Buys Cop Comedy From 'Cougar Town' Co-Creator Bill Lawrence

ABC has bought a cop comedy written and executive produced by "Cougar Town" co-creator Bill Lawrence, reports Deadline.com.

The project, "Feel the Force," received a put pilot commitment plus penalty. The show focuses on two female officers who want to prove themselves on a male-centered police force, the story adds. Warner Bros. TV and Lawrence's studio-based Doozer are producing.

The sale marks Doozer's fourth this development season, following Fox's "I Suck at Girls"; NBC's "Ali in Wonderland"; and NBC's "Undateable," the story notes. Lawrence, who will executive produce "Feel the Force," is also executive producing the other projects.

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'Jersey Shore' Cast Members Will Pitch In for Hurricane Relief

Cast members of "Jersey Shore" will appear in a special MTV fund raiser to aid in the rebuilding of New Jersey’s coastal regions after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, reports The New York Times' ArtsBeat.

The one-hour fund-raising special will air Thursday, Nov. 15, at 11 p.m., with MTV establishing a fund for for rebuilding the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, where the reality show has been based.

The fund will also assist individuals and businesses hurt by the storm.

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CBS Drama Slips in Ratings, Equals All-Time Low; ABC Show Sinks Even Lower

A CBS drama series that has traditionally been in the top 20 among broadcast shows is showing signs of weakness in its fourth season. “The Good Wife” slipped to a 1.7 average rating in the key 18-49 demo Sunday night, according to Nielsen overnights, equaling its all-time low, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

Meanwhile, ABC’s “666 Park Avenue” appears to be in trouble, delivering its lowest number to date: a 1.4 average in 18-49, down two-tenths from the previous week.

The piece notes that significant adjustments are expected to the numbers for the night due to live football broadcasts and overruns on NBC, CBS and Fox.

NBC took its usual easy Sunday night win on the strength of its “Sunday Night Football” telecast.

NBC finished the night with a 6.1 average rating for prime time in viewers 18-49, topping CBS (3.3 average), ABC (2.3) and Fox (2.0). Total viewers saw a closer battle, but NBC prevailed with 15.9 million to 13.7 million for CBS, 7.2 million for ABC and 4.4 million for Fox.

Other than NFL overrun at 7 p.m. (8.5 average rating for the half-hour in viewers 18-49), CBS’s top show of the night was “60 Minutes” with a 3.8 average. With football overrun affecting all shows’ start times, “The Amazing Race” delivered a 2.5 and “The Mentalist” rose one-tenth from last week to a 1.9.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” averaged a 7.3 in the 18-49 demo for prime time.

ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” was up one-tenth from a week ago to a 3.5 average in 18-49. “Revenge” slipped one-tenth to a 2.6.

On Fox, “The Simpsons” led the way with a 2.6 in viewers 18-49, while “Family Guy” delivered a 2.5, “American Dad” pulled a 1.9, “Bob’s Burgers” earned a 1.8 and “The Cleveland Show” had a 1.9.

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Sharon Osbourne Has Major Surgery

Sharon Osbourne, one of the co-hosts of CBS's daytime gabfest "The Talk," revealed that she recently had major surgery -- a double mastectomy, the AP reports.

The procedure was voluntary. Osbourne learned that she carries the gene that increases the risk of getting breast cancer. In an interview with Hello! Magazine, Osbourne said, "I didn't want to live the rest of my life with that shadow hanging over me. … It's not 'pity me.' It's a decision I made that got rid of this weight that I was carrying around."

Osbourne, who turned 60 last month, has been a TV fixture for the past 10 years after gaining attention through the MTV reality series “The Osbournes,” which focused on Sharon Osbourne, her husband, rocker Ozzy Osbourne, and their kids Jack and Kelly. Since then she has been a judge on the talent competitions “The X Factor” and “America’s Got Talent” along with her hosting job on “The Talk.”

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USA Officially Ends Drama Series

The USA Network put to rest speculation about the fate of a drama series that had been up in the air, Deadline.com reports. The series is "Political Animals," which originated as a miniseries but which some observers hoped would continue as a regular series. The cable network confirmed that the series will not continue.

The Greg Berlanti drama boasted a stellar cast, headed up by Sigourney Weaver and Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn, but it was only a modest success for USA. It had 3.8 million total viewers for its premiere, and averaged 3.2 million total viewers in Live+7 over its summer run. Those numbers were good, but not strong enough to justify such an expensive production.

In a statement, a spokesperson for USA said, “We are proud of 'Political Animals,' our miniseries that attracted critical acclaim and impacted the cultural conversation this summer. It was a pleasure to work with Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark and a powerful cast led by Sigourney Weaver. We look forward to collaborating again with these immensely talented creatives.”

Berlanti has moved on to the CW hit "Arrow," and is working on a midseason CBS drama "Golden Boy" among other project.

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Merrilee Crain, Wife of TVWeek Founder Rance Crain, Dies at 69

Merrilee Patterson Crain, secretary and board member of Crain Communications Inc. and wife of Crain's TVWeek founder Rance Crain, died Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. She would have turned 70 on Nov. 27.

Mrs. Crain was active in charitable, business and family activities. In the Chicago area, where the Crains lived for many years, she started the Gourmet Gala for the March of Dimes in Chicago and was a board member of the Hubbard Street Dance Company and the Goodman Theatre. She also ran the benefit and auction for the Lake Forest Symphony. When the Crains moved to Florida, Mrs. Crain served on the board of the Orlando Museum of Art.

One of her proudest accomplishments was to author a self-published book on her family history as it flowed through the Patterson cottage in Craigville, Mass. The cottage was bought by her father's parents in 1919 for $4,025.

A woman of many skills and interests, she helped design the Crains' Bermuda-style house in Windermere, Fla., and the office building for Turnstile Media Group, her husband's company in Orlando, Fla., where she served on the board. Mrs. Crain was a talented artist and, among other works, painted the cover for her book, “The Cottage.” She also wrote poetry.

Merrilee Crain was born Nov. 27, 1942, in Providence, R.I. She grew up in Winnetka, near Chicago, where she graduated from New Trier High School in 1960. After attending the University of Illinois, she graduated from the Katharine Gibbs School in Boston and worked in the engineering department of IBM Corp. in Evanston.

Mrs. Crain met her husband, Rance, in 1965 on a blind date arranged by Rance's brother, Keith. They were married eight months later. The couple raised their two daughters, Heather and Cindi, in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest and now have six grandchildren. Most recently Rance and Merrilee split their time between Windermere, Fla., and Centerville, Mass.

“Merrilee was an extraordinary woman," her husband Rance said. "It's very rare that a person combines creativity and intuition with a practical side but Merrilee did. She came up with elegant solutions to problems that eluded the rest of us, and people gravitated to her for advice and counsel. We will miss her love, her pixyish sense of humor, her generosity and her invincible can-do spirit.”

Mrs. Crain also forged close ties with those she worked with and was known as a valued counselor to Crain's senior management as the company grew.

“Merrilee was just an amazing woman," said Gloria Scoby, a Crain senior vice president who worked with Mrs. Crain for more than three decades. "She was direct to a fault yet extremely supportive, an expert peacekeeper, mirthful, measured and blessed with an uncanny common sense and instinct for how to handle business issues and personal affairs as well. 'Well, have you thought of doing it this way?' she would usually say. And she was always spot on.

“Personally, she taught me how to let go of things that were troublesome and focus on the business at hand. 'Just forget about it,' she told me more than once. If she was one thing in particular, she was decisive. I, like many people at our company, was lucky to be her friend and her colleague.”

“When Rance founded Electronic Media 30 years ago – which later was renamed TVWeek – Merrilee contributed a number of exceptional ideas, as she continued to do in our years as TVWeek,” said Chuck Ross, TVWeek’s managing director.

Mrs. Crain is survived by her husband; her mother, Frances (who turned 100 in July); her brother, Pat; her daughters, Heather and Cindi, and six grandchildren.

Thumbnail image for merrilee crain.jpgMerrilee Crain

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Time Warner Cable Stock Falls the Most in a Year on Customer Losses

Share prices for Time Warner Cable Inc. fell by the largest margin in more than a year after news surfaced that the company experienced a larger-than-expected downturn in video subscribers, BloombergBusinessweek reports.

Time Warner Cable, the second-largest U.S. cable-television operator, “fell 6.9 percent to $91.40 at 11:10 a.m. in New York, the biggest intraday drop since October 2011. The shares, which had gained 54 percent this year, were the biggest decliner in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index today,” the piece reports.

The story adds: “Time Warner Cable lost 140,000 residential video subscribers, more than the 128,000 that analysts had estimated. The cable provider also added fewer Internet and voice customers than analysts projected, a sign Time Warner Cable is struggling to market the correct bundles of services to its customers, said Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries.”

Said Sweeney: “It’s a sloppy quarter across the board operationally. Time Warner Cable has long promoted its ability to segment its subscribers. The results this quarter call into question that marketing strategy.”

The story adds: “Net income (TWC) rose to $808 million, or $2.60 a share, from $356 million, or $1.08 a share, a year earlier, the New York- based company said today in a statement. Excluding one-time items, earnings per share were $1.41, missing the $1.43 average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg.”

Damage from Hurricane Sandy is not expected to have a significant impact on TWC’s fourth-quarter results, according to a filing by the company. The company announced Nov. 2 that it will credit customers for lost services incurred as a result of the storm.

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One of TV's Most Popular Villains to Return After Eight-Year Absence

One of television’s most popular villains is set to return to the screen after an eight-year absence, Soap Central reports. Actress Lynn Herring will reprise her role as Lucy Coe on ABC’s daytime stalwart “General Hospital.”

The character started out as a mousy librarian and later emerged as a man-hungry femme fatale. She was on the show from 1986 through 1997, before being one of the key characters transplanted to the spinoff series "Port Charles." She stayed there until that series ended in 2003.

She returned briefly to “General Hospital,” where the character was last seen in July 2004.

The character will return next month, with her first appearance set for Dec. 14. In the storyline, Lucy is asked back to help create the Nurses’ Ball, an annual Port Charles event.

Herring has also appeared on “Days of Our Lives” and “As the World Turns.”

lynn-herring.jpgLynn Herring

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Canceled CBS Show Finds Temporary Home on Saturdays

A drama series that has been canceled by CBS hasn’t quite gone off the air yet, as the network scheduled two episodes of "Made in Jersey" to air on two Saturdays later this year, reports Deadline.com.

The two previously unaired episodes of the show are set for Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 at 8 p.m.

"CBS followed a similar route last fall with comedy 'How To Be A Gentleman,' which also was canceled after two low-rated airings on Thursday. It too was relocated to Saturdays before CBS pulled it permanently after one outing on the low-trafficked night," the article notes.

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'Back to the Future' Director Working on TNT Project With 'It's a Wonderful Life' Twist

"Back to the Future" director Robert Zemeckis is executive producing a project for TNT that has an "It's a Wonderful Life" twist, reports Deadline.com.

The project, which is in development, will focus on a runaway bride who wishes she were never born. After she sees the effect she's had on the people she loves, she decides to stay and correct things, the story adds.

The project is written and co-executive produced by Dave Ryan of "General Hospital" and "All My Children," making his first dip into prime-time television, the story adds.

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Cox Cable, Time Warner Cable Reach Terms for Carriage of Lakers Channel

Cox Cable and Time Warner Cable have reached an agreement on the carriage of SportsNet, Southern California’s new local TV channel centered on the Los Angeles Lakers, the L.A. Times reports.

“The agreement ends a standoff between the two companies that had been going on for weeks,” the story reports. “Cox is expected to start carrying SportsNet and its Spanish-language companion channel Deportes early this week and in time for Wednesday's Lakers game against the Utah Jazz.”

DirecTV and Dish Network continue to hold out on a deal with Time Warner Cable for the channel.

“Time Warner Cable hopes that having Cox on board will put more pressure on DirecTV to also start carrying the channel. Getting Dish to carry it is seen as more of a long shot given the company's well-known reluctance to carry high-priced sports programming such as SportsNet,” the piece reports.

Cox Cable, with about 1.2 million subscribers in Southern California, is the third-largest pay-TV distributor in the region, the report notes. Time Warner Cable, with 2.3 million subscribers in the area, and DirecTV, with 1.7 million, are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

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Has NBC Pulled Another 'Ann Curry'? Fans Are Upset at 'Weekend Today' Host Switch

NBC has angered some viewers with another change in hosts, although this time fans are upset at the network's decision to bump Jenna Wolfe, the Sunday co-host of "Weekend Today," reports The New York Times' Media Decoder.

As previously reported, NBC hired former CBS and CNN anchor Erica Hill, who will co-host the Saturday and Sunday program "Weekend Today" with Lester Holt. Wolfe is shifting to news anchor on Saturdays and Sundays.

After the hosting change was announced, "Today’s” Facebook page was targeted by hundreds of fans who said they were upset at NBC's decision to bump Wolfe. The comments were reminiscent of Ann Curry's exit from "Today" in June, when many viewers voiced displeasure at the network's decision to push her from the co-host role.

Fans also took to Twitter to protest Wolfe's treatment, with Ann Curry's name becoming a verb as some people wrote that Wolfe had been "Curried."

“Why does the ‘Today’ show keep messing around with their anchors. Isn’t viewer loyalty worth anything?” one viewer wrote, according to the story.

NBC said the changes would improve the overall show. Wolfe, speaking via an NBC representative, said she's still "very much a ‘Today’ show anchor” and added that the "Today" "family got stronger this weekend with the addition of Erica to our team," according to the report.

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Disney Developing Sequel to Long-Running ABC Comedy Series

Disney Channel is in the beginning stages of developing a sequel to a sitcom that ran on ABC from 1993 to 2000, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

The sequel to "Boy Meets World" would focus on the daughter of Cory and Topanga, the piece notes. "Boy Meets World" focused on the lessons learned by Cory Matthews as he grows up. By the end of the show, Cory had married Topanga.

While casting is under way, it's not clear whether Ben Savage or Danielle Fishel, who played Cory and Topanga, will return to their roles. Executive producer Michael Jacobs, who worked on the original ABC comedy, is also working on the sequel, the story adds.

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NBC Benefit for Hurricane Sandy Raises $23 Million -- Here's What You Missed

“Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” the NBC benefit concert for victims of the superstorm, raised $23 million in donations to the American Red Cross, reports TheWrap.com.

TVWeek Open Mic blogger Hillary Atkin looks back at the broadcast, which aired Friday and featured New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, as well as Long Island's Billy Joel. Click here to read her rundown on the show’s highlights and see a video clip from the concert.

The show also featured other performers including Sting, Steven Tyler, Christina Aguilera and Tina Fey.

Hurricane Sandy caused more than 100 deaths across 10 states and is estimated to be responsible for $50 billion in damage, the piece adds.

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Long-Running Fox Cult Show to Air Two-Hour Series Finale

A long-running Fox series that has been a cult hit will end its run with a two-hour finale, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

The show is "Fringe,” which is wrapping up after five seasons. The finale is set for Jan. 18.

The finale will also mark the show's 100th episode. The show, co-created by J.J. Abrams, has focused on the dystopian world of 2036 during the fifth season.

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Travel Channel and NFL Partner on New TV Series, Pick a Single Team to Be Spotlighted

Travel Channel is working with the National Football League on a new television series that will focus on a team as it travels for its road games, Jon Lafayette reports in B&C. The show will spotlight the Cleveland Browns.

“NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns” is set to premiere Dec. 4. The show, which will air at 10 p.m., will track the team’s visits to New York, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, Denver and Pittsburgh, the report notes.

The series is a co-production of NFL Films and RIVR Media.

“For Travel Channel, the opportunity to work with the most powerful force in television programming comes as it looks to replace its most prominent personality, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who has joined CNN,” the story reports. “The NFL programming is expected to appeal to Travel Channel's male-skewing audience.”

The piece adds: “After the loss of Bourdain, Travel Channel re-signed Adam Richman, popular host of ‘Man v. Food’ and ‘Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America.’ Losing both Bourdain and Richman would have been difficult for both the network and its sponsors to swallow.”

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Scripps Networks Interactive, which owns Travel Channel, has been working on a rebuild for the network since acquiring it in 2009, the report notes. the Cleveland Browns’ new owner, Jimmy Haslam, is also from Knoxville.

In a statement, Haslam said: "This show will offer viewers a great perspective of the inner-workings of an NFL team and what it takes to support a team. With Travel Channel working alongside NFL Films and RIVR Media, we expect that this will be first-class production. We are excited about what this will mean to Northeast Ohio, the Browns and our fans."

The report notes: “NFL road trips are unique and the new series will provide an inside look at what it takes to move an entire team from city to city, including feeding, clothing and housing six tons of humanity. It will also look at how NFL stadiums prepare to deal with thousands of fans.”

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NBC Websites Taken Down in Hacking Attack

NBC websites including those for the shows "Saturday Night Live" and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" were hacked Sunday by someone calling himself "pyknic," reports ZDNet.com. NBC’s main website was reportedly affected, along with sites for many of the network’s shows.

The sites started coming back Sunday afternoon, although the story notes that by 3:15 p.m. Eastern time some NBC sites were still down or broken. By Sunday evening, NBC's websites appeared to be back to normal, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The hacker replaced the websites’ content with a screen of scrolling text that read, "Remember, remember the fifth of November. The gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”

The reference is apparently to Guy Fawkes Day, a British holiday that celebrates the failure of the 1605 "Gunpowder Plot" to blow up Parliament, which is celebrated on Nov. 5. The hackers group Anonymous often uses an image of Guy Fawkes as one of its symbols, the piece adds.

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The Election: One Million Ads. More Than $1 Billion Spent. Ten Battleground States. Never Before Has So Much Money Been Spent on So Many Commercials Aimed at So Few Voters

"One million ads. More than $1 billion. Ten battleground states.Those eye-popping figures tell the story of the 2012 presidential campaign TV ad blitz -- never before has so much money been spent on so many commercials aimed at so few voters."

So writes Beth Fouhy of the Associated Press.

In total the election has set a record by generating a reported $6 billion in ad spending.

The article continues, "Television ads were the primary communications tool for the campaigns of President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, despite the gradual but persistent shift of viewers from television to the Internet.

"While both teams maintained a robust social media presence and used online ads for micro-targeting voters based on their reading and shopping habits, nothing came close to the campaigns’ investment in the kind of 30- and 60-second TV spots that have defined presidential campaigns for nearly half a century.

The story adds, "'The decline of television advertising hasn’t happened, and it’s not going away anytime soon,' said Erika Franklin Fowler, director of the Wesleyan University Media Project which tracks campaign advertising. 'TV is where you look for the persuadable voter, and the Internet is what you use to mobilize your base.'"

Separately, the Center for Responsive Politics predicts that in total, 2012 election spending will reach a whopping $6 billion, breaking the old record by more than $700 million, reports OpenSecrets.org.

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Dueling Celebrity Diving Shows: ABC Books Olympic Star, Moves Ahead With Project That Sounds a Lot Like One in the Works at Fox

ABC has hired an Olympic gold medalist for its diving show "Celebrity Splash," putting to rest questions about whether the network would go forward with the show given news last week that Fox had greenlighted a similar diving program, reports Deadline.com.

Greg Louganis, who racked up four gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games to go with a silver he won at the 1976 Games, is joining the ABC project.

The Eyeworks USA produced show will tap celebrities to perform dives from heights up to 10 meters, with a professional diving instructor training them, the story notes. Louganis' role will be as one of three judges who rate the dives.

Fox last week greenlighted "Stars in Danger: High Diving," a two-hour reality pilot slated to air during the holidays. ABC's diving show is scheduled to debut next year.

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New York City to Resume Issuing TV and Film Permits This Week

New York City will start issuing exterior permits for taping television and film projects this week, reports the Los Angeles Times' Company Town blog.

The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting will start handling permits for exterior locations on a case-by-case basis, but won't allow taping at locations severely damaged by the storm, the piece adds.

"We're confident that the TV shows and feature films that call New York City home will take this temporary adjustment in stride," the office said in a statement.

The city revoked all film permits last Monday because of Hurricane Sandy, and at least nine TV shows were affected by the shutdown, including ABC's "666 Park Avenue" and CBS's "Elementary."

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ABC Buys Generations X and Y Comedy From Oscar-Winning Writer

ABC has bought a comedy about a couple from two different generations -- Gen X and Gen Y -- from an Academy Award-winning writer, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

Diablo Cody, who won the Oscar for writing "Juno"  -- and created the TV series "The United States of Tara" -- has a new project, "Alex + Amy."  It's about a 22-year-old Millennial man falling in love with a 32-year-old Generation X woman.

ABC has bought a pilot script for the project, which is produced by Warner Bros. TV and Amblin Entertainment. The deal includes a penalty if a pilot isn't taped.

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'Skyfall' Writer and Director Team Up for Vampire Hunter TV Project

John Logan, the co-writer of the new James Bond film "Skyfall," and Sam Mendes, the film’s director, are teaming up to work on a television drama project about vampire hunters in 1800s London, reports Deadline.com.

The project is being shopped to premium cable networks, with Logan having written the script and Mendes attached to produce and possibly direct, the story adds.

The project is described as having the style of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," and will feature some literary characters such as Van Helsing from "Dracula."

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Comedy in the Works at ABC From Conan O'Brien

ABC has a new untitled single-camera comedy project in development, with Conan O’Brien’s Conaco Productions and Warner Bros. TV producing, Deadline.com reports.

The show is based on “Keep Swinging,” a Kindle Single memoir by Rick Marin. “This is the first Kindle Single to be optioned by Hollywood since Amazon launched its Kindle Singles business, offering short stories, long-form journalism and opinion pieces, in January 2011,” the piece reports.

Lew Schneider, the former executive producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” will co-write the adaptation with Marin.

The report adds: “The comedy centers on an artsy dad with zero interest in sports who is thrown into a new family dynamic and social life as he and his wife face a challenge for which they are woefully ill-equipped: a jock kid. Marin, Schneider, O’Brien, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross are executive producing.”

Said Marin: “This material was so personal and immediate -- I was writing it on my phone during practices and games. It was exciting to be able to get it out there so fast as a Kindle Single. Instead of waiting a year for it to be printed and shipped to bookstores, you’re published immediately. Ninety seconds after I finished writing it, it was up and people were already reading and responding to the story.”

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Rocker Drops the F-Bomb on NBC's 'Today' Show

Underscoring the stereotype that rock stars aren’t exactly morning people, a live appearance on NBC’s “Today” show by the group Aerosmith turned into a problem for the network when lead singer Steven Tyler dropped the F-bomb, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The slip occurred during a weather report by Al Roker, the piece notes. As Tyler and the other band members were warming up the crowd from the stage, they apparently weren’t aware that their banter was being picked up by a live audio feed.

The band was on the show to perform live outside Rockefeller Center in support of its new album, “Music From Another Dimension.”

Tyler told the crowd, "Hey, thanks for coming out, you crazy ...," according to the report.

“After a moment, Roker responded, ‘What did he just say?’ He then finished up the forecast and said to the camera, ‘That's why they haven't done mornings,’” the piece reports.

The incident comes on the heels of one two weeks ago in which actor Tom Hanks dropped an F-bomb of his own on live morning TV -- on “Today” rival “Good Morning America” -- as previously reported.

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Big Night for Country Music's Power Couple, but CMA Awards Sink to Historic Low in Ratings -- Here Are the Thursday Broadcast Results

Country music’s reigning power couple had a winning night at Thursday’s Country Music Association Awards, but the ceremony itself was a loser -- at least in the ratings.

Blake Shelton, who’s a coach on “The Voice” besides being one of country’s top artists, cleaned up in the awards, winning Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. Meanwhile, his wife, Miranda Lambert, was anointed Female Vocalist of the Year.

Airing on ABC, “The 46th Annual CMA Awards” earned a 3.8 average rating in the key demo of viewers 18-49 in Nielsen overnights, TVbytheNumbers.com reports. That was an all-time low for the ceremony and down 21% from last year’s 4.8 average.

Still, it was enough to give ABC a win for the night. ABC’s 3.8 average rating in 18-49 for prime time topped CBS (3.2 average), Fox (2.3), Univision (1.6) and NBC (1.3). ABC also eked out a win in total viewers, averaging 13.6 million to 12.7 million for CBS, 6.2 million for Fox, 4.1 million to NBC and 3.8 million for Univision.

The top show of the night was CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” with a 5.1 average rating in the 18-49 demo, a season high and up 2% from last week. “Two and a Half Men” was down 3% to a 3.6, “Person of Interest” rose 3% to a 3.0 and “Elementary” climbed 9% to a 2.4.

Fox’s “The X Factor” settled for a 2.3 in adults 18-49, down from a 2.9 for the most recent Thursday telecast.

NBC aired a two-hour repeat of “The Voice” and a fresh episode of “Rock Center,” with both shows delivering a modest 1.3 average in 18-49.

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'Flashdance' Actor Arrested in Domestic Violence Case

An actor best known for the 1983 hit film "Flashdance," who also has had a recurring role on CBS's "NCIS," was arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony domestic violence, reports TMZ.com. The actor is Michael Nouri.

Police received a call around 6 p.m. at Nouri's Beverly Hills home, where Nouri had reportedly been fighting with his girlfriend. The woman reportedly had evidence of bruises.

Authorities were reportedly told that the dispute had escalated from a verbal argument to something physical. Nouri was arrested and held on $50,000 bond before being released early this morning.

Nouri has played Eli David, the father of Cote de Pablo’s character Ziva, on “NCIS,” and has appeared on a number of other TV shows, including “The O.C.” and “Damages.”

michael_nouri.jpgMichael Nouri

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Khloe Kardashian on 'X Factor' Wardrobe Malfunction: Blame It on Hurricane Sandy

Much of the chatter about Khloe Kardashian’s debut Wednesday as host of Fox’s “The X Factor” has focused on her wardrobe situation, with Kardashian’s sheer blouse and lack of a bra provoking Simon Cowell to offer a quip about the air conditioning during the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Kardashian talked about the “nipply” incident after Thursday’s show, saying Hurricane Sandy played a role, the piece reports. She also said she was OK with Cowell’s wisecrack.

“I don’t mind that he talked about it because it was there,” Kardashian said. “What happened was … everything got moved up because of the hurricane and my stuff got stuck on the East Coast, so the top I wanted to wear came in that day and I was like ‘Oh, perfect!’”

But the piece notes that the top didn’t arrive in time for the dress rehearsal. That meant the first time Kardashian appeared on stage in the nude-lined blouse was when the show was shooting.

“After stepping out into the lights, Kardashian reveals that while Cowell was pointing to his own chest, producers were yelling ‘areolas!’ in her ear,” the story reports.

Adds Kardashian: “I was like, covering it with my hair and I thought, from my angle, maybe it was just … nipply.”

khloe-kardashian-x-factor.jpgKhloe Kardashian on Fox's ‘X Factor’

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Bomb Scare, With Claim of 'Hostages,' at CNN in Atlanta

An unknown person called in a bomb threat overnight to the CNN Center in Atlanta, reports TVNewser.com. The caller also claimed to have hostages at the network’s Atlanta headquarters.

My Fox Atlanta reported that the authorities searched the CNN Center building but no explosives or hostages were discovered. The building was then reopened.

TVNewser notes, "Earlier this year, some teenagers were arrested for trespassing in the CNN newsroom in Atlanta after breaking in. They were busted when they logged into Facebook."

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Sitcom Becomes the Most Profitable 30-Minute Show in TV History

Executives behind a beloved sitcom revealed how much money the series has been pulling in since it went off the air 12 years ago. And the numbers say the show about nothing, “Seinfeld,” is definitely about something in syndication -- it’s about making more money than any sitcom ever has before.

The New York Post reports that the comedy series from creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld has made $2.7 billion since the last first-run episode aired on NBC, according to Time Warner, which owns the series.

That number makes "Seinfeld" the most profitable 30-minute show in TV history. Since 1998, reruns have grossed $2.3 billion. Executives report that revenues from cable were about $380 million.

All in all, "Seinfeld" created 180 episodes in nine years on NBC. Breaking down the numbers, that means that each half-hour episode has earned more than $14 million so far.

The Post notes that Forbes magazine has been estimating that Jerry Seinfeld alone makes between $65 million and $80 million a year from reruns of the show.

Our friend, TV analyst Marc Berman, told the Post, "The thing about 'Seinfeld' is that it was well-written, well-acted and well-produced -- a triple threat. People related to the characters and it's just plain funny. This is a show that can last forever. It's like watching 'I Love Lucy' -- it's still funny and you can keep laughing at it today."

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USA Network Pulls Plug on One Drama Series, Eyes Renewal for Another

USA Network has canceled one of its drama series and is close to a renewal on another show, Deadline.com reports. Getting a pink slip after two seasons is "Fairly Legal," while "Burn Notice" is poised for a seventh season.

The cancellation of "Fairly Legal" comes after the network revamped the show following its freshman season, giving the program a new showrunner and tweaking the cast. The second season started with 3.5 million viewers, but dropped to 2.5 million by the end of the season.

Star Sarah Shahi was recently cast in a recurring role on "Chicago Fire."

"Burn Notice" is likely to receive a 13-episode pickup, smaller than its 18-episode fourth, fifth and sixth seasons, the report notes.

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Boy Who Killed His Father Says He Was Inspired by CBS Procedural

A boy who shot and killed his neo-Nazi father told police he was inspired by an episode of the CBS police procedural "Criminal Minds,” reports the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif.

"A bad father did something to his kids and the kid did the exact same thing I did -- he shot him,” said the boy, who is now 12 but was 10 at the time of the shooting. "He told the truth and wasn’t arrested and the cops believed him. He wasn’t in trouble or anything. I thought maybe the exact same thing would happen to me.”

The Riverside County, Calif., boy is not being identified by name by the publication, but his father, Jeff Hall, was shot in the head and killed on May 1, 2011. The boy is on trial for murder, and his interview with authorities in the aftermath of the shooting was played as evidence in the trial.

“The boy described how he woke up before 4 a.m. and lay in bed plotting to shoot his father,” the piece reports. “He said he wanted to end his father’s abuse. He also worried that his parents were going to get a divorce, and he wanted to end up with his stepmother, Krista McCary, not his father.”

The report comes after Mandy Patinkin told New York magazine that starring in “Criminal Minds” was "the biggest public mistake" he had made. As previously reported, Patinkin described the show as "very destructive to my soul and personality." The actor cited the series’ violent storylines as being troublesome for him, and referred to the possible negative effect of the show on audiences.

“I’m not making a judgment on the taste [of people who watch crime procedurals],” Patinkin said in an interview with New York Magazine. “But I’m concerned about the effect it has. Audiences all over the world use this programming as their bedtime story. This isn’t what you need to be dreaming about.”

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Why Baseball Remains Our Greatest Game, Despite Low Ratings for the World Series. Lessons From a 104-Year-Old Man. Plus, the Giants' Greatest Fan, Who Once Said, 'There have been only two geniuses in the world, Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare'

A lifelong Dodger fan reflecting on the rival Giants’ improbable playoff run and dominating World Series triumph, TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross finds inspiration in the observations of a legendary screen actress and a 104-year-old philosoper and historian.

Click here to read this thought-provoking piece on what it is that makes baseball our greatest game.

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Film Star's Move to TV Hits a Snag -- Actor Exits TNT Project Over Creative Differences

An actor known for his film roles won’t be moving to TV as soon as expected, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed. Brendan Fraser is parting ways with TNT's "Legends" amid creative differences with showrunner Howard Gordon, the piece reports.

Fraser was slated to play undercover operative Martin Odum, who has a talent for transforming himself into different people. The split is being described as amicable, according to the story.

"Legends" producer Fox 21 hinted Fraser might work on another TV project. "While this particular project may not have been the right fit, we are excited to develop cable properties with him that will showcase his amazing talent," Fox 21 President Bert Salke said in a statement.

Fraser is in talks for a development deal with Fox 21, the story adds.

As previously reported, “Legends” was set to be the first major scripted TV series role for Fraser. The project is from "Homeland" executive producer Gordon.

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NBC News Program Hires Former CBS and CNN Anchor

NBC News confirmed that it has hired a former CBS and CNN anchor, reports The New York Times' Media Decoder. Joining NBC's "Weekend Today" will be Erica Hill, the piece reports.

Hill will co-host the Saturday and Sunday program with Lester Holt, while Jenna Wolfe, who has co-hosted the Sunday program for several years, will shift to become the news anchor on Saturdays and Sundays, the story notes.

Hill was recently a co-host of "CBS This Morning" before she was suddenly replaced by Norah O'Donnell after Hill came back from a vacation in July.

Hill’s hiring fills out the main cast of “Weekend Today,” which also recently added Dylan Dreyer as weather anchor. Hill will also be a national correspondent for NBC News, with her reports to be included in “Today,” “NBC Nightly News” and other programs.

erica-hill1.jpgErica Hill

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HBO Picks Up Comedy Series From 'The Office' Co-Creator

HBO has given a season order to a project from Stephen Merchant, who co-created "The Office," reports Deadline.com. The order is for eight episodes.

Called "Hello Ladies," the project stars Merchant, who is 6 feet, 7 inches tall, trying to charm women in Los Angeles in a bid to find his soulmate, the story says. Unfortunately, Merchant's character isn't as charming as he thinks and is also desperate as he tries to infiltrate the beautiful people.

Besides his involvement in the original Ricky Gervais version of “The Office,” Merchant is known for his role as an actor, co-writer and co-director of Gervais’ HBO series “Extras.”

stephen-merchant.jpgStephen Merchant

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Huge Jump in Political Advertising Projected Over 2008

Political advertising this year is on track to surpass 2008 figures by a wide margin, Joe Flint reports in the Los Angeles Times’ Company Town blog.

Television stations are expected to haul in $2.6 billion in political advertising this year, a 68% jump from 2008, when political ads reached $1.6 billion, the piece reports.

The states benefiting most include Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, while the broadcast groups likely to see the biggest spending include E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications, the story says, citing consulting firm SNL Kagan.

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Al Gore to Lead Current TV's Election Night Coverage

Former Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore will lead Current TV's election night coverage, reports UPI.com. Gore is the co-founder of Current TV and has been sitting in on the network's debate coverage during the election season.

Current TV's coverage of the election will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

In a statement from the network, a spokesperson said, "Gore will lead a roundtable and will be joined by other Current anchors including former Michigan governor and host of 'The War Room' Jennifer Granholm, former New York governor and host of 'Viewpoint' Eliot Spitzer, new media expert and host of 'The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur and comedian, commentator and host of 'So That Happened' John Fugelsang."

Current's election night coverage will originate from Current's studio in San Francisco, home to "The War Room with Jennifer Granholm" and "The Gavin Newsom Show."

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ABC Buys Project from 'Eureka' Co-Creator, 'I, Robot' Director

ABC is working on a project from Jaime Paglia, the co-creator and executive producer of Syfy's long-running show "Eureka," with "I, Robot" director Alex Proyas tapped to direct and executive produce, reports Deadline.com.

The project, called "Evolve," is based on the "Toxic City" trilogy by author Tim Lebbon. It's set two years after an unknown biological agent is released over Los Angeles, and the city has been sealed off from the rest of the world. A group of civilians living outside the quarantine area decide to try to find out what has happened to loved ones who are living inside the cordoned-off zone.

ABC Studios is producing the project.

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Soon After Receiving Renewal, AMC Drama 'Hell on Wheels' Loses Showrunner

Just days after AMC's historical drama "Hell on Wheels" received a third-season renewal, its showrunner, John Shiban, has departed for personal reasons, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

AMC has put the show on hold while it searches for a replacement, the story adds.

"Like all of our shows, network pickups are always conditioned on an approved showrunner. We are confident that eOne and Endemol will satisfy that obligation in the near future," AMC said in a statement, referring to the program's co-producers.

Shiban has worked on the show since the first season, and was slated to take over for creators/showrunners Joe and Tony Gayton, who left after their contract wasn't picked up, the story adds. The brothers will continue to consult on the show if and when a replacement showrunner is tapped, the piece says.

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Showtime Buys Roman Polanski Documentary

A documentary about film director Roman Polanski has been bought by Showtime, reports TheWrap.com. "Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out" is set to premiere next year on the pay-cable network.

The film tracks the director's 2009 arrest at the Zurich Film Festival and explores "the bizarre clash of politics, celebrity justice and the media as [director Marina Zenovich] sheds new light on the infamous saga of Polanski’s sexual abuse case and his escape from Swiss house arrest," according to Showtime.

Polanski has spent much of his life in exile after fleeing the United States to avoid sentencing in connection with a 1977 statutory rape case involving a 13-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor but soon left the country and eventually settled in France.

His films include “Repulsion” (1965), “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968) and “Chinatown” (1974).

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All-Time Ratings Lows for Two More ABC Series -- But That's Still Better Than How NBC Fared

On a night when three of the big four broadcast networks fought their way to a close finish in the ratings, the numbers across the board were generally down Wednesday night as the traditional Halloween dip took its toll, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

Citing Nielsen overnight numbers, the piece reports Fox, CBS and ABC in a close race for No. 1 in the key 18-49 demo, with NBC well off the pace. Fox finished prime time with a 2.7 average rating in the demo, followed by CBS (2.5 average), ABC (2.4) and NBC (1.4). CBS, however, demonstrated its continuing appeal among older viewers by easily winning the night in total viewers, averaging 10.9 million to 7.4 million for Fox, 7.0 million for ABC and 5.1 million for NBC.

On broadcast overall, viewership in the 18-49 demo was down 7% from last Wednesday, the piece reports.

Fox’s win came via its two-hour “X Factor,” but the show’s 2.7 average in 18-49 was well below the 3.5 it delivered for its previous Wednesday episode.

CBS’s two dramas and one reality show were all down from a week ago: “Surivor: Philippines” slipped to a 2.4 in viewers 18-49, down 14%; “Criminal Minds” settled for a 2.9, down 6%; and “CSI” dipped to a 2.3, off 4%.

ABC’s night started on a positive note with a 2.7 average in 18-49 for the holiday special “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” up 17% from last year’s airing. But it was downhill from there, including all-time lows for two series: “The Neighbors” was down 10% from a week ago to a series-low 1.8, while “Nashville” also turned in a series-low 1.8, also down 10%.

Elsewhere on ABC, “Modern Family” led the way with a 4.1 in viewers 18-49, but that number was down 16% from a week ago, while “Suburgatory” dropped 11% to a 2.4.

The ABC slump followed a difficult night in the ratings for the network Tuesday night, as previously reported.

On fourth-place NBC, its “30 Rock” equaled its all-time series low with a 1.2 in 18-49 -- matching the number turned in last week by the canceled series “Animal Practice” in the same time period. “Guys With Kids” also equaled last week’s number, a 1.4, but “Law & Order: SVU” was down 11% to a 1.7 and “Chicago Fire” was down 17% to a 1.8.

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Brian Epstein -- The 'Fifth Beatle' -- to Be Played by Actor With a High-Profile TV Role

An Emmy-nominated actor has landed the role of the “fifth Beatle,” Brian Epstein, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Benedict Cumberbatch, best known as the modern-day Sherlock Holmes in the BBC/PBS production "Sherlock," has been cast in the big-screen biography of Epstein, who was the manager of the Beatles when they started out.

Epstein was referred to as the “fifth Beatle” because he was instrumental in the birth of the group, their iconic look and style and their emergence as the most popular musical act in the world. In 1966, at the height of Beatlemania, Epstein died of an overdose, in what many believe was a suicide.

Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce the film for their company Playtone. Directing the film will be the man who has helmed four of the six episodes of "Sherlock," Paul McGuigan.

Cumberbatch has played a high-profile real-life character before, appearing as Stephen Hawking in the 2004 BBC drama “Hawking.” He received an Emmy nomination this year for “Sherlock.”

benedict-cumberbatch.jpgBenedict Cumberbatch

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Comedy Central Charts Plans for Live Election Night Coverage by 'Daily Show' and 'Colbert Report'

Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" will broadcast live on both the East and West coasts on Election Night next Tuesday evening, reports Deadline.com. The comedy shows that are all about politics and current news are slated to air at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT) and 11:30 p.m. ET (8:30 p.m. PT), respectively.

Stewart’s "Election Night 2012: This Ends Now" will cover the early election results with analysis from Stewart and the show’s regulars. Stephen Colbert’s "Election 2012: A Nation Votes, Ohio Decides; The Re-Presidenting of America: Who Will Replace Obama? ’012!" will follow suit, including a guest appearance by columnist Andrew Sullivan.

This will be the sixth presidential election in a row that Comedy Central has covered live, going back to 1992. The shows will also be broadcast on MTV’s Times Square jumbotron in New York City.

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Two-Time Oscar-Winning Actress to Receive DeMille Award

Following in the footsteps of legendary entertainment figures including Walt Disney, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Lucille Ball, two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a statement, Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Adia Takla-O’Reilly, said: “Jodie is a multifaceted woman that has achieved immeasurable amounts of success and will continue to do so in her career. Her ambition, exuberance and grace have helped pave the way for budding artists in this business. She’s truly one of a kind.”

The Golden Globes, which will take place Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, are slated to be broadcast live coast-to-coast on NBC from 8-11 p.m. ET (5-8 p.m. PT) from the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Hosting the show will be Tina Fey ("30 Rock") and Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation"). The show is produced by dick clark productions in association with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Foster won Oscars for her performances in “The Accused” and “Silence of the Lambs.”

Jodie-Foster.jpgJodie Foster

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Oprah's OWN Launches Web Presence on Huffington Post

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable channel today launched HuffPost OWN, a web section on The Huffington Post’s website, OWN and Huffington Post announced.

The site is designed to provide “practical advice and ideas to help users find motivation, inspiration and fulfillment,” the companies announced.

“HuffPost OWN will include selections from this year’s list of Oprah’s Favorite Things from O, The Oprah Magazine’s Holiday O List, featured in the December issue, one of the most popular and recognized traditions of the Oprah Winfrey brand,” the announcement says. “The site will also exclusively feature Favorite Things trivia, a video montage of the best Favorite Things moments from ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ and an inside look at celebrity gifts that Oprah added to her Favorite short list.”

Said Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group: "Oprah was about engagement and authenticity long before engagement and authenticity ruled the web. And since those qualities are deeply embedded in the DNA of both OWN and HuffPost, I'm delighted that we'll be working together to enlarge and deepen the conversation on living our best lives, as Oprah puts it.”

Winfrey added: “I am delighted to join the conversation online at The Huffington Post. We’ll be sharing some of the very best from OWN -- life lessons and soul shifting moments as well as expert advice from some of today’s most inspirational thought leaders -- all designed to help you have a happier, more fulfilled life.”

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Video: Letterman Crosses Network Lines for Guest Spot With Kimmel -- Who Reveals His Dave Obsession

David Letterman ventured beyond the familiar confines of his CBS late-night show to fulfill a dream of Jimmy Kimmel -- one of Letterman’s biggest fans -- with a guest appearance on Kimmel’s ABC late-night show.

Kimmel, whose show normally tapes in Los Angeles, had set up his visit to the New York area well before the threat of Hurricane Sandy surfaced, and he stuck to his plan to shoot in Brooklyn despite a number of obstacles created by the disaster -- including being forced to delay the taping by one day. Kimmel's show got a ratings bump from the episode.

Here are two clips of Letterman’s appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” -- with part one including a look at Kimmel’s longtime obsession with the late-night veteran, while part two has Dave revisiting the story about a kitchen invasion by a bear at Dave’s Montana home.

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Hathaway and Renner to Host 'Saturday Night Live'

Actors Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Renner have been set to host upcoming episodes of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hathaway, who will be in the big-screen adaptation of "Les Miserables," opening around Christmastime, will host "SNL" on Nov. 10. Rihanna will be the musical guest.

Renner, who starred in "The Bourne Legacy" -- which is coming out on DVD -- is slated for "SNL's" Nov. 17 episode. Maroon 5 is the musical guest.

Louis C.K. is the host for this week's show, Nov. 3.

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'Downton Abbey' Creator to Host Show Focused on England's Great Mansions

The creator of "Downton Abbey," writer Julian Fellowes, will host a new show that will tour the great mansions of England called "Julian Fellowes' Historical Houses," reports Deadline.com.

The two-part program, which will air on ITV in the U.K., will be a production of NBCUniversal International Television's Chocolate Media. Besides touring the homes, the show will tell the backstories of the families who lived in them.

"The archives are rich in their stories and I have been on the trail of just a few of these," Fellowes said in a statement about the new series.

"Downton Abbey" is itself filmed in part at one of England's historic mansions, Highclere Castle, the piece notes.

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Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera, Sting, Billy Joel and Jon Bon Jovi to Perform Sandy Relief Concert Live on NBC and Cable Tomorrow Night

Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera, Sting, Billy Joel and Jon Bon Jovi are all scheduled to perform on a televised concert to raise money to benefit the victims of superstorm Sandy, NBC has announced.

The benefit, called "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together," will be shown live tomorrow night, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012,  from 8 to 9 p.m. ET.

The concert will air on NBC and the following NBCUniversal cable networks: Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and the USA Network. The show will also be streamed live on NBC.com. Other cable networks might also end up airing the benefit special as well. The concert will be broadcast from NBC's 30 Rock studios.

The concert will be tape-delayed for those on the West Coast.

Matt Lauer will host the show, and both Brian Williams and Jimmy Fallon are also scheduled to be on the program.

Proceeds raised will go to the American Red Cross.

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USA Network Cancels Its Lowest-Rated Scripted Series

USA Network has canceled a drama series that was its lowest-rated scripted show, Deadline.com reports. The show, which aired on Fridays during its freshman season, is "Common Law," starring Michael Ealy and Warren Kole.

The series had already been written off, with the options on its stars lapsing and executive producer/showrunner Craig Sweeny moving on to CBS's new show "Elementary" as an executive producer, the story notes.

The show debuted in May, drawing 2.48 million viewers for the premiere, and attracted just over 2 million viewers throughout the season.

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Censors Up in Arms Over Tim Allen's Rebooted 'Last Man Standing' as Sitcom Aims for Archie Bunker Territory

Censors at Walt Disney are on the alert over a more controversial version of "Last Man Standing," the ABC comedy starring Tim Allen, reports the New York Post.

The new version of the series is targeting more sensitive topics, such as racism and homosexuality, with the show’s return for its second season. Allen said the show is aiming to be a modern-day "All in the Family," according to the story.

“When didn’t you talk about what Archie Bunker said?” Allen said. “Maybe you didn’t agree with him. But you couldn’t help but like his passion -- or his ignorance. We think we can reboot that."

With new showrunner Tim Doyle, Allen is hoping to draw more viewers to the show, the piece adds. Doyle said ABC felt Allen's character didn't have a strong enough point of view during the show’s first season.

Among the lines that have already been cut is one in which Allen's TV daughter calls a classmate gay, the story says. Another episode features Allen's character having mixed feelings when the first African-American family moves onto their block.

"There are several jokes in there that were red flagged as being ‘too far,’” Allen said.

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Former WWE Diva Releases Naked Photos After Her Laptop Is Stolen

Former WWE Diva Amy Weber is releasing nude photos of herself that were stored on a laptop that was stolen last week, in an effort to keep the thief from making money off the pictures, reports TMZ.com.

The laptop was stolen from her car last week while she was playing with her children at a park, the story notes. The laptop contained a nude photo spread she did for Playboy, which was never published in the magazine.

Weber, 42, has made a number of television appearances, including roles on “CSI: Las Vegas,” “Melrose Place,” “Baywatch” and “Saved by the Bell.”

amy-weber.jpgAmy Weber

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Was There Ever a Rock 'n' Roll Song That Became a More Popular Movie? Co-Writer of Roy Orbison's 'Oh, Pretty Woman' Dies at 73

It is, undoubtedly, one of the truly classic songs in the rock 'n' roll canon: Roy Orbision's "Oh, Pretty Woman."

Orbison co-wrote the song with Bill Dees, who has died at age 73, reports the blog Pop2it.

According to the article, "Dees, who also penned tunes for Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Glen Campbell, was reportedly suffering from an inoperable brain tumor when he passed away Wed., Oct. 24, in Mountain Home, Ark."

The story notes: "In the early 1990s, Dees was involved in a landmark Supreme Court case, when Orbison's music publisher sued 2 Live Crew for the raunchy rappers' parody, 'Pretty Woman.' The case was ultimately decided in the 'Nasty as They Wanna Be' group's favor on the basis of fair use. 'It's like if someone asks you if they could use the car,' Dees complained at the time. 'We said no, but they take it and paint it all different colors.'"

"Oh, Pretty Woman" was also heard in the megahit 1990 film "Pretty Woman," starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.  

bill-dees.jpgBill Dees

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Sets for ABC's '666 Park Avenue' Damaged by Hurricane; Other Shows Resume Production

Sets for ABC's "666 Park Avenue" were damaged by Hurricane Sandy on Monday, making it tougher for the show to get back on track with production, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

The show's set is at Brooklyn's Cine Magic Riverfront Studios, which suffered severe damage when the building was flooded during the hurricane, the piece reports.

"I went to check them out on the night of the storm at 10 p.m. and they were under 6 feet of water -- the entire complex,” said Cine Magic Riverfront Studios owner Peter Kapsalis. “It wasn’t in very good shape.”

Some sets might be salvaged, he said, and it could be nearly three weeks until taping resumes in the studio.

Silvercup Studios in Long Island City made it through the hurricane without damage. Several shows started production again Wednesday, including "30 Rock," "Elementary" and "Person of Interest," the piece adds.

Nevertheless, permits for exterior shoots have been suspended by New York City through at least Friday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The city's office of media and entertainment issued 17 permits Wednesday, although all were for interior studio production.

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FX Shakes Things Up Behind Scenes of 'Wilfred' -- the Good News Is the Series Is Renewed

"Wilfred" has been renewed for a third season by FX, although the network will replace showrunner David Zuckerman with writers and executive producers Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

Agnew and Jorne worked as writers on the show's first two seasons, and Zuckerman will continue as an executive producer but hand over the day-to-day role to the pair, the story adds.

The comedy has averaged a 1.1 rating in adults 18-49, with its median viewer age at about 36 years old, the story adds.

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CW Will Give 'Gossip Girl' Big Sendoff as Signature Series Ends Run

The CW is readying a big sendoff for a show whose scandalous plot twists helped define the broadcast network for the past five years. The network will air a two-hour finale for "Gossip Girl," which will end its sixth and final season Dec. 17 at 8 p.m., reports TheWrap.com.

During the finale the network will air a peek at its upcoming "The Carrie Diaries," based on "Sex and the City’s" central character Carrie Bradshaw when she was growing up in the 1980s.

The finale broadcast will also include interviews with the cast of "Gossip Girl" and with the show's creators, the story adds.

The CW said in a press release: "All will be revealed in the drama-filled series finale, featuring a look back at the unforgettable OMG moments of the series that made headlines, including interviews with the cast and creators themselves."

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Fox Buys Action Drama About Greek Gods -- the Network's Second Greek God-Themed Project This Season

Fox has bought a Greek god action drama created by writer-director Peter Berg and actor Taylor Sheridan, reports Deadline.com.

The project, "Olympus," is about a soldier who finds out he's descended from the Greek gods and might be the last hope for humanity, the story notes. It's the second Greek god-themed project in development at Fox, which also has "Athena" from writer Lisa Joy.

The latter is about a 23-year-old woman who discovers she's Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war. It’s based on Joy’s graphic novel “Headache.”

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ABC News Files Motion to Dismiss $1.2 Billion 'Pink Slime' Lawsuit

ABC is seeking to dismiss the "pink slime" lawsuit brought against it by Beef Products Inc., which is seeking $1.2 billion in damages for the network's reporting on finely textured beef, reports TVNewser.com.

ABC and on-air staffers Diane Sawyer, Jim Avila and David Kerley -- who were all named as defendants in the original lawsuit -- filed a motion to dismiss the claims brought by Beef Products and Freezing Machines Inc., the story says.

The lawsuit accuses the network of “false and misleading and defamatory” statements, citing 11 television reports and 14 online reports between March 7 and April 3, 2012, the report notes.

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Report: Hurricane Sandy Could Cost Ad Industry $500 Million

Hurricane Sandy could cost the advertising industry $500 million, as many ads have been yanked and spending slowed for many marketers in the northeast, reports Advertising Age.

Research firm Pivotal Research Group lowered its ad forecast to a 0.5% decline in the third quarter, a 1.4% decline in the fourth quarter and no growth for 2012, the story adds.

"The first signs of a stormy second half of the year for advertising had become clear once the agency holding companies reported, and then Superstorm Sandy arrived, making us certain that 2012 will prove to be a year without growth for the U.S. advertising economy," said Brian Wieser, a senior research analyst at Pivotal.

He estimated the storm would cost the ad industry about $500 million in lost revenue from interruptions in broadcast programming during the storm and from decisions by media buyers afterwards.

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Viacom Sued Over Spike Reality Show

Viacom has has been sued for trademark infringement by American Digger Magazine over Spike's "American Digger" reality show, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq.

Viacom said it acquired a valid license from the plaintiff, according to the story. The lawsuit is charging Viacom with confusing consumers and damaging its mark.

American Digger is a metal-digging hobbyist publication, published by Grady "Butch" Holcombe and his wife, Anita Holcombe. They claim the magazine received "a barrage of calls, e-mails and unfavorable comments on hobbyist forums from subscribers and hobbyists alarmed by the show's highly inflammatory and negative depiction of their hobby" after "American Digger" aired on TV, according to the story.

"This is a surprising lawsuit on a number of levels," a Viacom representative said. "Primarily due to the fact that -- although not disclosed in his complaint -- we were issued a valid license from the plaintiff that permits our full use of the ‘American Digger’ trademark.”

Holcombe declined to take questions, the story adds.

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Former Yahoo CEO Says His Successor Will Need Years to Turn Things Around

Russ Levinsohn, the former interim chief executive officer of Yahoo!, said his successor Marissa Mayer will require years and a patient board to turn around the Web company, reports Bloomberg.

"You can’t turn that company or any company of size around in six months or a year," Levinsohn said in an interview, his first since he stepped down.

He held the CEO role for less than three months and was a candidate for the permanent position before Yahoo hired Mayer, a Google executive. Mayer is Yahoo's fifth CEO in three years.

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