October 2013

Finally! FAA to Airlines: Stop Telling Passengers to Shut Off Their Electronic Devices

"Airplane travelers will soon be able to watch videos and play games with their electronic devices throughout their entire flight -- and not just above a certain altitude -- the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, in a long anticipated announcement," CNN reports.

The article continues, "But don't expect to be chatting on your cell phone. A ban on using cell phones for voice communication remains in effect.

"The FAA, following months of study by a group of aviation experts, said that airlines can soon allow passengers to use portable electronic devices such as tablets, laptop computers, e-readers and cell phones in airplane mode throughout the flight -- with some circumstantial restrictions."

The articles adds, "Until now, passengers in the United States were prohibited from using the devices until their plane rose above 10,000 feet. The timing of the changes will depend on individual airlines, but an FAA statement said it expects "many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year."

To read more details, please click here to read the full FAA press release about the new guidelines.

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Hedge Fund Tycoon -- and Co-Owner of Variety -- Tried Three Times to Have Deadline.com's Nikki Finke Fired, Vanity Fair Reports

A hedge fund tycoon -- who is also the co-owner of Variety -- tried three times to have Deadline.com founder and editor in chief Nikki Finke fired, reports Vanity Fair.

The online summary of the report says that Dan Loeb, who runs the "$14 billion hedge fund Third Point Capital," "tried to get star columnist Nikki Finke fired no fewer than three times, says a source in a December profile of the hedge funder by William D. Cohan."

Online, Vanity Fair only published a summary of the full article, which is in its print edition.

The summary continues: "Loeb, adds the source, tried to have Deadline boss Jay Penske keep Finke quiet after she criticized him, and his relationship with Penske, on the site’s blog. (A spokesperson for Penske claims that Loeb has never discussed editorial direction for Deadline.)"

The summary explains: "Loeb entered the picture in 2012, when Penske acquired Deadline competitor Variety. Loeb’s $14 billion hedge fund, Third Point Capital, helped finance the $25 million purchase (in exchange for a stake of about 20 percent)."

The summary continues: "Finke’s acute displeasure with Loeb became public this August, after Loeb filed two disparaging investor letters to Sony (in which he holds a billion-dollar position)."

At one point, according to the summary, Finke wrote: "I hope Hollywood expresses its disdain for Loeb’s despicable tactics by not reading or advertising in Variety, the in-house newsletter he owns with my boss Jay Penske. Loeb should learn his actions have consequences -- even if his Variety investment is flea-sized for a billionaire who made $500M off a single Greek bond bet."

The summary adds: "According to the insider, Loeb tried to have Penske muzzle Finke. 'I guess the only person who is allowed to have free speech is Daniel Loeb,' the insider told Cohan. 'I think that Jay has been embarrassed about being his partner because this guy is destabilizing Hollywood and Jay’s companies are dependent on Hollywood’s advertising.' (A spokesperson for Penske says, 'We are far from embarrassed about having one of the world’s most successful hedge funds, which is known as a serial value creator, as its equity partner on the Variety acquisition.')"

The summary also notes about this Finke piece about Loeb: "According to The Wall Street Journal, the post was taken down [from the Deadline.com site] and then mysteriously reappeared."

Finke has written a number of times about her displeasure with how Penske has managed Variety.

Recently, as we've previously reported, Finke has said she will be leaving Deadline.com, though she has not said exactly when that will happen, and is still with the publication. The headline Vanity Fair online has on its summary that was published Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, reads, "Did Dan Loeb Play a Role in Nikki Finke’s Exit From Deadline Hollywood?"

William Cohan, the author of the actual article that talks about Loeb and Finke in the December print edition of Vanity Fair, is a contributing editor for the magazine. He's a graduate of both the Columbia University School of Journalism and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Earlier in his career, according to Wikipedia, Cohan "worked on Wall Street for 17 years. He spent six years at Lazard Freres in New York, then Merrill Lynch & Co., and later became a managing director at JP Morgan Chase.

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NBC Lands 'Signature Comedy' Series From Tina Fey

A new comedy from "SNL" and "30 Rock" veteran Tina Fey has received a series order from NBC. EW.com reports that the series, which received a 13-episode order for fall 2014, will star "The Office" actress Ellie Kemper.

The sitcom will be written and produced by Fey and her "30 Rock" collaborator Robert Carlock.

NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said: “Tina and Robert, who cemented their partnership on '30 Rock,' have created a new signature comedy for us that is audacious, emotional, and clever. While tapping into very relatable themes, there isn’t anything like this anywhere else on television. NBC has been their home for many years and we’re so happy that they’ve found another way to push the comedy envelope for us.”

Kemper will play a woman who escapes from a doomsday cult and seeks a fresh start in New York, the report notes.

NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke added: “Original voices like Tina and Robert don’t come along very often and we wanted them back on the air as soon as possible. And to have them working with Ellie Kemper -- who we watched grow up on 'The Office' from supporting player to leading actress -- puts the whole package together. We feel fortunate to be in business with this entire creative team on something so funny, unique, and attention-getting.”

ellie kemper.pngEllie Kemper

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Pop Superstar to Host 'SNL'

One of the biggest stars in pop music has signed on to host NBC's "Saturday Night Live." The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that Lady Gaga will host the Nov. 16 episode.

Also on tap is actor Josh Hutcherson of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," who will host Nov. 23.

For Gaga, it will be her first time hosting the show. She will also appear as the musical guest -- her third time in that role. The singer is promoting her upcoming album "ARTPOP," the report notes.

"On Nov. 23, Hutcherson -- who reprises his role as Peeta in the 'Hunger Games' followup -- makes his hosting debut, one day after the anticipated 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' hits theaters Nov. 22," the story reports. "Southern California female trio HAIM is set as the evening's musical guest."

The lineup for this weekend has been set for a while, with "Scandal" actress Kerry Washington hosting and Eminem as musical guest.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lady-gaga.pngLady Gaga

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Is the Fall Broadcast Season Already Running Out of Gas? More Shows Sink to Historic Lows

Prime-time shows across multiple broadcast networks sank to all-time lows and season lows Wednesday night, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that ABC's "Nashville," "Back in the Game" and "Super Fun Night" all equaled or surpassed their historic lows in the demo, while NBC's "Revolution" also matched its series low.

ABC's "The Middle," meanwhile, notched a new season low. On CBS, the numbers weren't at historic lows, but the entire prime-time lineup was down from last week's numbers.

Much of the damage appears to have been done by Fox's coverage of the deciding game of the World Series. The game, in which the Boston Red Sox clinched the championship by knocking out the St. Louis Cardinals, delivered a preliminary 5.4 average in 18-49 from 8-11 p.m., with 18.0 million total viewers.

The demo number was up 42% from Monday's Game 5, and gave Fox the distinction of notching the highest Wednesday rating for any broadcast network since Fox's own Jan. 30, 2013, airing of "American Idol." The report notes that the numbers for Fox are subject to more than the usual adjustments due to the nature of live programming.

Fox easily won the night, both in the 18-49 demo and in total viewers.

Second-place CBS saw "Survivor" slip 4% from a week ago to a 2.3 average in 18-49, while "Criminal Minds" lost 11% to come in with a 2.4 and "CSI" dipped 14% to a 1.8.

ABC managed to place third overall, even as "The Middle" recorded a season-low 2.1 average in viewers 18-49, off 5% from last week; "Back in the Game" equaled last week's series low with a 1.7; "Super Fun Night" fell to a series-low 1.8, losing 14% from a week ago; and "Nashville" fell 13% to a series-low 1.4.

NBC aired only an hour of fresh programming and finished well off the pace. "Revolution" delivered a 1.4 in the 18-49 demo, matching last week's series low. A two-hour "Law & Order: SVU" repeat notched a 1.0.

For prime time overall, Fox finished well ahead of the pack with a 5.4 average in adults 18-49, followed by CBS (2.2 average), ABC (1.8), NBC (1.2) and Univision (1.1). Fox outdistanced the field in total viewers as well, averaging 18.0 million to lead CBS (9.7 million), ABC (6.3 million), NBC (4.4 million) and Univision (3.1 million).

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Mick Jagger Denies Hitting on Katy Perry

Mick Jagger, the 70-year-old frontman for the Rolling Stones, had some 'splaining to do after pop star Katy Perry alleged that the legendary singer made a pass at her. But according to Jagger, it never happened, E! Online reports.

"While speaking with Australian DJs Ash, Kip & Luttsy on Nova FM during a recent interview, the 29-year-old performer revealed that she previously worked with the now-70-year-old singer before her career took off and even sang the back-up vocals on his hit 'Old Habits Die Hard,'" the story reports. "But that's not all the 'Roar' singer confessed -- she also claimed that [the] British rocker came on to her while the pair was out to dinner when Perry was just 18."

Perry is quoted as saying: "I actually went to dinner with [Jagger] one time, and he hit on me when I was like 18! Yeah but that was a long time ago, and since then he's been very kind and I got to sing 'Beast of Burden' on their stage with him on their tour on the Rolling Stone tour."

Asked how she could turn down a legend like Jagger, Perry reportedly joked: "Well you bring a friend and then they do them."

A representative for Jagger told E! News: "Mick Jagger categorically denies that he has ever made a pass at Katy Perry. ... Perhaps she is confusing him with someone else.''

Yeah, that could happen.

katy-perry.jpgKaty Perry

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Video: CBS's Scott Pelley Fulfills a Fantasy Many of Us May Have

CBS has released a video clip in which newsman Scott Pelley fulfills what is probably not an uncommon fantasy: getting behind the wheel of a 570-horsepower Lamborghini Gallardo and pushing it to 155 mph.

The clip is a teaser for a "60 Minutes" segment scheduled for this Sunday focused on the 50th anniversary of the car company.

Check it out:

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Where Did Late-Night Show's Audience Go?

The audience for a late-night program appears to have mysteriously vanished. Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva reports that the stand-up comedy show "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell," which moved in September to FXX after one season on FX, is "barely registering" in the ratings most nights.

"For instance, on Monday, the show drew only 12,000 total viewers at 11 p.m.," Andreeva writes. "Its adults 18-49 delivery was 4,000. In FXX’s target demo of adults 18-34 it averaged 3,000 viewers, while its young adults aged 18-24 audience was so minuscule, it was listed as 0 on the Nielsen charts. To put it in perspective, the second-lowest-rated cable late-night show among adults 18-49 on Monday, 'The Pete Holmes Show,' averaged 245,000 in the demo. That’s 61 times 'Totally Biased‘s' tally."

Andreeva adds: "In 18-34, the second-lowest-rated program, Bravo’s 'Watch What Happens Live,' scored 101,000 viewers, 34 times the viewership of 'Totally Biased.'"

Some dropoff was anticipated with the move from FX to FXX, which is distributed to 26 million fewer homes than FX, the report notes. Still, "those public access program-level numbers are puzzling as 'Totally Biased' was a solid and pretty stable ratings performer on FX," Andreeva writes. "Adding to the head-scratcher is the fact that 'Totally Biased‘s' 1 a.m. repeat on Monday night did far better than the 11 p.m. premiere, logging 39,000 total viewers and 27,000 adults 18-49."

The report notes that other than "Totally Biased," FXX carries only one night of originals, on Wednesdays.

"'Totally Biased' performs better on Wednesdays, following original series 'It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia' and 'The League,' drawing an average of 110,000 total viewers, 92,000 adults 18-49 and 64,000 adults 18-34," Andreeva notes in her report. "Still, that is less than a third of the show’s audience on FX in the final leg of its first season (372,000) and half or less of 'Totally Biased‘s' 18-49 (236,000) and 18-34 (127,000) Season 1D averages."

totally biased.jpg

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CBS Working on Spinoff for Veteran Comedy Series

A long-running CBS sitcom is winding down, but the network apparently wants to keep the franchise going in the form of a spinoff. Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva reports that the network has started the ball rolling on a follow-up to "How I Met Your Mother."

"I’ve learned that the network is in talks with 'HIMYM' producer 20th Century Fox TV for a spinoff series, which takes a female spin on the original show," Andreeva writes. "Referred to as 'How I Met Your Father,' the spinoff is from 'HIMYM' creators/executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and 'Up All Night' creator/exec producer Emily Spivey."

The original series is currently in its ninth and final season. The spinoff would focus on a new group of friends, with a woman seeking her future husband.

Andreeva adds: "I hear the new characters could be introduced in the 'HIMYM' series finale, and Ted, Barney, Marshall, Lily and Robin’s favorite hangout, MacLaren’s Pub, may be featured on the new show, serving as a link between the two gangs."


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'X Factor' Ratings Bloodbath: A Not-So-Simple Problem for Simon

After Fox's "The X Factor" got trounced in the ratings Tuesday night, not just by rival singing competition "The Voice" on NBC but also by CBS's "NCIS," the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker is asking whether Simon Cowell can save the show.

"Fox's singing contest re-emerged Tuesday night with a serious baseball hangover, drooping to just 4.9 million total viewers with a two-hour special, according to Nielsen," Scott Collins writes in the Times piece. "True, Cowell's extravaganza has had to contend with several weeks of postseason baseball and World Series interruptions -- its most recent telecast before Tuesday was way back on Oct. 10 -- and the Tuesday slot is not its customary time period.

"But so what? Those are lousy numbers, no matter what sort of excuse is made for them. And given that 'X Factor' is one of TV's most expensive shows, that doesn't bode well for its future on the struggling Fox lineup."

The piece notes that "The Voice" delivered more than twice as many viewers Tuesday night -- 11.6 million -- going head-to-head part of the time with "X Factor."

"That's not all," Collins notes. "'X Factor' lost not only to 'NCIS' and 'The Biggest Loser' -- it barely beat 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' A repeat of 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' That hurts, people."

In Fox's target demo of viewers 18-49, "Factor" lost about one-fourth of its audience from earlier this month, the piece notes.

The problem, Collins writes, is bigger than just one night of bad numbers.

"'X Factor' has been deflating for some time. So what's the problem?," the piece asks. "After a rocky first season that ended with Cowell firing Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger as judges and basically starting over, the producers tried to ramp up the show-biz glitz and brought on Britney Spears, who lasted all of one harshly reviewed season.

"This time around, there's a lot of contrived suspense centered on 'four-chair challenges,' in which contestants who think they're safe might be scooped away at any minute. It's a lame attempt to inject some drama into proceedings that are supposedly about finding the best singer, not seeing who can survive the weirdest parliamentary challenges."

The bigger problem, the piece suggests, is a glut of TV singing competitions, with "The Voice" and "American Idol" proving stronger than Cowell's show.

"'X Factor' just doesn't have its act together the way 'The Voice' does," Collins writes. "In fact, it's making 'American Idol' -- which itself changes judges the way Lady Gaga changes costumes -- look like a model of stability and good taste."

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Video: Bad Blood Between Rachel Maddow and Rand Paul

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have been exchanging unpleasantries, with Maddow accusing Paul of plagiarizing much of a speech he recently gave, and Paul calling Maddow a "hater" who needs to stop nitpicking, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Paul referenced the movie "Gattaca" during his speech, calling its world one "where DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class," a line that appears to be lifted directly from the Wikipedia page on the film, the story says.

Paul, in an interview with Fusion, said his critics were "making a mountain out of a molehill. ... It's a disagreement about how you footnote things." He added that Maddow has been "spreading hate on me for about three years now."

The Times notes: "Many viewers might shrug -- especially Paul's supporters -- but plagiarism can prove a difficult issue for a major politico. During the 1988 presidential campaign, revelations that he had plagiarized a speech by British leader Neil Kinnock helped sink the candidacy of Joe Biden, who eventually recovered and is now vice president in the Obama White House."

A segment from Maddow's show accusing Paul of plagiarism can be found below. Video of Paul's response can be viewed by clicking here to go to the L.A. Times story.

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Intense 1992 Psychological Thriller Set to Become TV Series

A psychological thriller that scared the heck out of audiences in 1992 is in the works for a TV adaptation. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the feature film "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" is in development as a series at ABC Family.

The movie was about a young, attractive and unstable nanny, played by Rebecca De Mornay, who terrorizes a family.

The TV project is from Daniel Loflin of "Supernatural," who will write and executive produce, along with Radar Pictures. Ted Field of Radar, who was an executive producer on the original movie, and Mike Weber will serve as executive producers.

"The move comes as the TV landscape continues to embrace darker fare, a trend that has breakout hits from AMC's 'The Walking Dead' to FX's 'American Horror Story' to thank for generating momentum," the report notes. "ABC Family recently announced it was developing 'The Final Girls,' a horror-thriller starring Jamie Lee Curtis, and has the second half of first-year murder-thriller 'Twisted' returning in January."

hand that rocks the cradle-movie.jpg

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Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher Settle Divorce

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher have agreed to settle their divorce, signing paperwork and preparing to file the legal documents as soon as next week, the New York Post's Page Six reports.

The settlement comes two years after the pair separated, with reports that the pair had argued over money, the story notes. When Kutcher joined "Two and a Half Men," he became the top-paid actor on television. He also has valuable tech investments, the report adds.

Moore is reportedly worth $150 million, but was seeking spousal support, the piece reports. Representatives for the actors didn't return requests for comment, the Post adds.

ashton kutcher-demi moore.jpgAshton Kutcher and Demi Moore

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Comedy Central Renews Three Series

Comedy Central has announced renewals for three shows. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the cable channel picked up "Key & Peele," "Drunk History" and "Brickleberry."

"Key & Peele," one of the network's best performers with young men, will return for a fourth season. Its ratings among viewers 18-49 have jumped 37%, helped by a lead-in from "South Park," the story notes.

"Drunk History," which was originally a Web series on Funny or Die, averaged 1.2 million viewers during its summer run on the network. "Brickleberry," which is from Daniel Tosh, has earned an average audience of 1.6 million viewers and will return for a third season, the story notes.

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Creator of '666 Park Avenue' Sells Legal Thriller, Supernatural Western to Broadcast Nets

David Wilcox, the creator of ABC's "666 Park Avenue," has sold projects to both ABC and the CW, with the former a legal thriller and the latter a supernatural Western, reports The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

The ABC project, "Entrapment," focuses on a prosecutor who is accused of murder. She turns to her former professional adversary to help defend her against the charges, the story says. ABC has given it a put pilot commitment.

The CW project, "Badlands," is about a family haunted by vengeful ghosts, the story says. The project has received a script deal from the CW, and is in second position to "Entrapment."

"The sales come as broadcast development season winds down, with several of the networks lighter on drama fare this season. As The Hollywood Reporter reported in early September, the explosion of cable and digital outlets was causing a talent drain at the networks," the story says.


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Sarah Silverman Locks In Her First HBO Special

Sarah Silverman has signed on for her first stand-up comedy special for HBO, Deadline.com reports. "Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles" will debut Nov. 23 at 10 p.m.

The special, taped at Largo in Los Angeles, will take on subjects ranging from porn to "the miracle of existence," the report notes. Silverman has appeared on HBO shows including "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Mr. Show with Bob and David."

The comedian is also slated to star in HBO's comedy pilot "People in New Jersey."

sarah silverman 2.jpgSarah Silverman

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World Series Clincher Delivers Numbers for Fox

Fox saw a big bump in viewer numbers for what turned out to be the World Series-clinching Game 6 Wednesday night, BloombergBusinessweek reports.

The numbers in major markets were 18% better than the final game one year ago, the piece reports.

"The Red Sox’s 6-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of Major League Baseball’s championship series attracted 12.5 percent of viewers in the 56 biggest U.S. media markets, according to figures provided by News Corp.’s Fox network, which broadcast the game," the story reports.

The piece adds: "The final game in 2012, a victory by the San Francisco Giants over the Detroit Tigers, drew a 10.6 big-city rating as it completed a four-game sweep, Fox said."

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'X Files' Creator on Board as Amazon Greenlights First-Ever Drama Pilots

Amazon announced today that it has greenlighted production of its first two hour-long drama pilots: "Bosch," based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling Harry Bosch series, and "The After," from "X Files" creator Chris Carter.

The web giant's Instant Video service will host pilot episodes of the shows, and will weigh viewer response to help decide whether the shows will get full-season orders.

"Bosch" will be written by two-time Emmy nominee Eric Overmyer ("Homicide: The Movie," "Law & Order"). Carter, who was a part of eight Emmy nominations during his run on "The X Files," will write and direct "The After."

"Customers will be invited to watch the pilots on Amazon Instant Video at no cost and can provide feedback that will help determine which pilots should be produced as series to air exclusively on Prime Instant Video and Amazon’s LOVEFiLM in the UK in early 2014," the company said in its announcement.

Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios, commented: “We are very excited to be working with creators like Michael Connelly and Chris Carter, both epic storytellers in their own right. For the first time we are bringing Amazon customers hour-long programming and we can’t wait to hear what they think of these new stories.”

Commenting on "Bosch," author Connelly said: “Sharing this story with television audiences is very exciting, something that’s been twenty years in the making. It is amazing to have it come together with the synergy of Amazon -- the world’s largest bookstore -- along with accomplished creator and showrunner Eric Overmyer, and Fabrik, a production company dedicated to loyalty to the books. Harry Bosch can be in no better hands.”

Carter had this to say about "The After": “I’m very superstitious about talking about what I’m working on before it’s finished, and it’s more fun if it’s kept a mystery! So let me just say that this is a show that explores human frailty, possibility, terror, and the triumph of the human spirit. I’m so excited to be telling this story with Amazon in this new frontier of television.”

chris carter.jpgChris Carter

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Report: Intel Wants Out of Its Cable TV Venture

Intel is looking into selling off its cable-Internet venture to Verizon, The New York Times reports. The venture, called OnCue, envisions taking traditional cable-network bundles and relaying them via the Internet, but network owners haven't been eager to sign on for licensing deals, the story notes.

"The other big roadblock has been an internal one. When a new chief executive, Brian M. Krzanich, took over the company earlier this year, he expressed skepticism about the television project because it was not a core part of Intel’s business, and directed the project leaders to seek partnerships for it," the piece notes.

Intel could continue with the venture via a partnership with Verizon, although it's more likely that Verizon will buy the project, the story adds.

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'Entourage' Movie: 'It's a Go'

After months -- if not more -- of delays and false starts, the "Entourage" movie is indeed going to happen. Deadline.com reports that director Doug Ellin confirmed the news in a tweet, writing: “It’s a go. love you all."

"Deals for Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Kevin Connolly have been reached, sources say," Dominic Patten writes in the Deadline piece. "Working with Warner Bros., producers Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson stepped in to close the offers this weekend."

Details have yet to surface on who will get what, but the four actors will participate in the movie's backend, the story reports.

Patten adds: "Even though my colleague Mike Fleming Jr. broke the story back in January that a movie of the HBO series had the green light from Warner Bros., this all started when Jeremy Piven closed his deal for the pic around the end of August with part of the backend. The other cast members started wanting a bit of that profit-participation pie too. The ripple effect was that Grenier, Dillon, Ferrara and, to a lesser degree, Connolly held out for what they hoped would be a big payoff down the line."

Filming wasn't scheduled to begin anyway until January, Patten notes. That's when Piven will be on a break from "Mr. Selfridge," his ITV/PBS series.

"On top of the dispute among the actors and the producers, Warners was adamant that the budget for 'Entourage' the movie stay at $30 million and would not go ahead if the pic doesn’t meet the mid-January deadline to remain eligible for the 20% tax credit it got from California Film Commission program earlier this year," Patten notes.

The original series ran for eight seasons on HBO, from 2004-2011.


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Record Prices, Quick Sellout for Oscars Ads

Advertising has sold out early for the upcoming Academy Awards, with pricing at a record high, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Marking the earliest sellout in recent years, the ABC network has sold out virtually all of the available advertising for the March 2, 2014 Academy Awards, a source confirms to The Hollywood Reporter," the story reports. "ABC declined comment but the sources say that they have scored record prices [as] high as $1.9 million for a 30-second ad during the three-hour show, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres."

The previous record was just above $1.8 million for the 2008 ceremony -- back in pre-recession times, the report notes.

"Prices fell after the global economic crisis hit, but this year are back to pre-panic levels and even above that," THR reports, adding: "The Academy Awards also are helped by scarce availability for ads. Under its deal with the network, the Academy limits the number of spots during the show to about 10 minutes per hour, well below the 14 minutes per hour on other shows."

Ratings for the annual event tend to fluctuate, at least in part based on the popularity of the movies and stars who are up for awards. "However, since the Academy went to 10 best picture nominees, and made other changes, the show has improved," the THR report notes. "In 2013, the telecast -- hosted by Seth MacFarlane -- drew an average audience of 40.3 million total viewers and scored an impressive 13.0 rating among adults 18 to 49. That made it the most watched entertainment telecast since 2010."

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ellen-degeneres.pngEllen DeGeneres

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NBC's Prime-Time Lineup Sinks -- and NBC Still Wins the Night

On a night when its entire prime-time lineup fell to season lows, NBC still racked up a Tuesday ratings win for prime time overall, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo. CBS, meanwhile, coasted to a big win in total viewers.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that NBC's two-hour "The Voice" and one-hour "Biggest Loser" fell to season lows. "The Voice" lost 18% from a week ago to settle for a 3.5 average in viewers 18-49 -- still the top broadcast show of the night -- while "The Biggest Loser" dipped 10% to a 1.8.

CBS got a steady performance out of its familiar Tuesday night drama lineup, for the most part. "NCIS" was even with last week with a 3.0 average in the 18-49 demo and "NCIS: Los Angeles" inched up 4% to a 2.6, but "Person of Interest" had a shaky outing with a series-low 1.8, losing 18% from last week's number.

"NCIS" had an especially impressive number in total viewers, with 18.98 million to help fuel CBS's overall win in that metric.

Fox rode a special Tuesday installment of "The X Factor" to a third place finish for the night, but the show's 1.5 average rating in 18-49 was down 25% from the most recent episode, which aired Thursday, Oct. 10.

ABC got decent results for its one hour of original programming, considering that the network filled the 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. hours with repeats. "The Goldbergs," with a repeat of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." as a lead-in, matched the 1.7 the show delivered last week in 18-49, when it had a fresh episode of "Marvel's" as its lead-in. And "Trophy Wife" bounced back from its series low a week ago, rising 17% to a 1.4.

The "Marvel's" rerun at 8 p.m. settled for a 1.2 in 18-49, while a repeat of "Shark Tank" at 10 p.m. managed only a 1.0.

The overall prime-time numbers show NBC on top in the 18-49 demo with a 3.0 average, followed by CBS (2.5 average), Fox (1.5), Univision (1.3) and ABC (1.2). CBS won total viewers with an average of 15.2 million, followed by NBC (9.6 million), Fox (4.8 million), ABC (4.1 million) and Univision (3.2 million).

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A&E Wants You to Get Roped Into Its New Female-Focused Reality Show -- and the Series' Hot Promo Poster Just Might Do It; See for Yourself ...

A&E has a new unscripted series ready to premiere soon, and based on the promotional art (shown below), the show might be worth a look. The series is "Rodeo Girls," from The Weinstein Company and Left/Right.

"The six-episode series follows five female barrel racers as they pack up their lives and their horses, to test their skills at rodeos across the country," the cable network says in its press release announcing the show. "Aspiring to keep their relationships and riding in check while they’re on the road, these ladies work hard, ride fast and play rough."

The series is set to bow Sunday, Dec. 15, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

The competitors are model-turned-rodeo-queen Darcy “No Fear” LaPier (Says A&E: "With three famous husbands behind her, Darcy brings a big checkbook as well as her grit and determination to the competition."); Marvel Murphy, "a seasoned rider whose wild past haunts her at every fair ground and keeps her running in and out of the ring"; former champ Barb West, who returns to the circuit following two years of "nesting" after getting married; rookie racer Megan Etcheberry, who "grew up on the circuit, but still needs to win some races before she can officially call herself a pro"; and youth barrel racing champ Jessica Holmberg, who "has the skills to compete, but not always the funds."

The network also suggests that a horde of womanizing cowboys -- Ty Murphy and Anthony Lucia among them -- will be lurking on the sidelines.

Here's the poster ...

rodeo girls key art a&e.png

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CW Developing Drama From Writer Behind 'Pretty Little Liars'

The CW is developing another project based on a book series from writer Sara Shepard, who wrote "Pretty Little Liars" and "The Lying Game," reports Deadline.com.

Shepard's new book series, "The Perfectionists," is now a project from Alloy Entertainment and Warner Bros. TV. It will be written and executive produced by Lisanne Mittman of "Dexter" and executive produced by Leslie Morgenstein of Alloy and Cheryl Dolins, the story says.

The project is described as a murder mystery drama.

An upcoming book series by Shepard, "Heiresses," is also in the works, at Bravo, the report notes.

sara shepard.jpgSara Shepard

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Low Ratings May Translate to Early Cancellation for Six More Shows

As the fall season progresses, it's becoming clear that some shows remain unable to gain traction in the ratings -- with six more broadcast series likely "to shuffle off, joining fall casualties that began with 'Lucky 7,'" reports TheWrap.com.

"We hate to say a show is doomed. We really do. But we don’t take it lightly, and we’ve never been wrong," the story notes.

Here are the six shows TheWrap predicts will soon be ending their runs:

"Hostages," CBS: "The 15-episode series won’t be back for more because NBC’s “The Blacklist” is crushing it on Monday nights at 10," the story reports. "CBS isn’t known for keeping underperforming shows around, but seems content to let 'Hostages' finish its run because of the star power of leads Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette -- and perhaps to avoid offending the mighty Bruckheimer."

"Trophy Wife," ABC: This Tuesday night comedy is pulling only a 1.9 rating in Live + 7, the story notes. "As it stands, it would take the power of the Avengers, the Watchmen, and the X-Men to keep 'Trophy Wife' from becoming an ex-show," the article says.

"Sean Saves the World," NBC: "'Sean' is the lowest-rated comedy on broadcast television that hasn’t been canceled yet, except for ABC’s 'Neighbors.' Why is it still on? Because NBC has a good relationship with its star, Sean Hayes … Hayes may have tested that relationship last week when he blamed NBC’s low ratings for his low ratings," the story reports.

"Betrayal," ABC: "'Betrayal' is another 'limited-run series,' and unfortunately, its prospects do indeed look limited," the piece says.

"Neighbors," ABC: "'Neighbors' is low-rated even for a Friday show, averaging a 1.2. As we mentioned above, that makes it the lowest-rated comedy on TV. We hate to rub it in with a corny joke, but hey, it’s probably our last chance: The neighbors are moving out," the article notes.

"The Carrie Diaries," CW: The piece reports: "We hate to put this endearing show on this list. But its second season debuted to an anemic .2 rating Friday, which is low even by CW standards. ... Even the show’s 'Sex and the City' connections don’t feel sufficient to keep it alive."


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Cable News Channel to Add More Staff, Bureaus -- as Distribution Also Expands

A fledgling cable news channel is mapping plans to expand its coverage and add programming, with the plans including adding employees and bureaus across the U.S. The channel, Al Jazeera America, which debuted on cable just two months ago, also will open a new headquarters in Manhattan, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The growth plan is in response to the fact that "the channel has been so well received," Chief Executive Ehab Al Shihabi said in a memo to employees. "The critical acclaim, increased distribution and online interest in Al Jazeera America's unbiased, objective and in-depth coverage of the news has convinced us that we should fast-track our plans to meet the projected increased demand."

The news outlet currently operates 12 U.S. news bureaus, but will add an unspecified number in the next year. The move is designed to allow the network to report stories that aren't getting coverage on other news outlets. Al Jazeera America plans to emphasize investigative reporting, and will hire more reporters, the story says.

"There will be a new promotional and marketing campaign, especially in markets where the channel is just being launched or expanded," the report adds. "Last week, Al Jazeera America announced an agreement with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to expand carriage, especially in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas."

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After One Month in Prime Time, How Is Fox News Host Megyn Kelly Doing?

With a month of prime-time hosting under her belt, Megyn Kelly's show "The Kelly File" on Fox News Channel is now ranked as the No. 2 show on cable news, the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports.

The show drew an average of 2.2. million viewers in October, placing it behind only the longtime ratings champ, FNC's "The O'Reilly Factor," which drew 2.8 million viewers, the story notes.

Kelly is a veteran daytime host on Fox News, but moved to the 9 p.m. slot as part of the network's scheduling overhaul earlier this year. Sean Hannity moved to 10 p.m., while O'Reilly remained at 8 p.m.

"Kelly appears to have already improved on Hannity's numbers. As recently as August, he was averaging 1.6 million total viewers. However, October was a fairly high-traffic period for cable news, given concern over the government shutdown," the story notes.

The report adds: "Fox News still has a commanding lead in cable news, averaging 1.9 million total viewers in prime time. MSNBC is No. 2 with 780,000, while CNN is third with 525,000."

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for megyn-kelly.jpgMegyn Kelly

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Video: High-Profile TV Chef in 'Knock-Down, Drag-Out Fight With Hairdresser'

A well-known television chef was caught on video in a massive beef with his hairdresser. TMZ.com, which posted the video, reports that Guy Fieri, known for his work on Food Network, "got into a nuclear fight with his hairdresser Saturday" and reportedly threw the man out of an SUV.

The report adds: "The video -- obtained by TMZ -- shows Ariel Ramirez punching Guy through the open door of the SUV, swearing at him. You also see Guy kicking him. Ariel is so mad, he cries uncontrollably during the fight."

The trouble reportedly happened after the group landed at San Francisco International Airport following a flight on which they had been drinking.

"As for how the argument happened ... we're told it was about nothing," TMZ reports. "One source said, 'It was just dudes being dudes.' It escalated into a physical fight."

A rep for Fieri told the website: "A bunch of guys were messing around. Things got a little out of hand, but they're all good now."

Fieri is known for shows including "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and "Guy's Big Bite."

Here's the clip, with the warning that it contains language some viewers might find offensive:

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Five-Time Emmy Winner Joins Fox Sci-Fi Drama

A Fox science-fiction series has added a five-time Emmy winner who is also a Tony Award winner. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that John Larroquette is joining "Almost Human" in a recurring role.

Larroquette will portray Nigel, a roboticist who is said to be "sympathetic, highly intelligent and a bit broken." The drama will debut over two nights on Nov. 17 and 18. The show is set in 2048, when police officers are partnered with androids to fight increasing criminal activity.

Larroquette is known for his role on "Night Court," which earned him four of his five Emmys as he dominated the category of outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series from 1985-1988. He later added a fifth Emmy for a guest performance on "The Practice."

He has also starred in "Boston Legal" and "The John Larroquette Show," and he won a Tony in 2011 for his role on Broadway in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

John Larroquette.jpgJohn Larroquette

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Time Warner Cable CEO Has Cancer

Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Officer Glenn Britt has told employees that he has cancer, reports Bloomberg.

Britt, who said earlier this year he planned to retire at the end of the year, said in a memo that doctors discovered melanoma had returned after a bout five years ago, the story says. Britt had voice problems over the summer and was receiving tests to find out why.

"I feel good and am optimistic about my prognosis,” said Britt, 64. “I have no intention of letting this cancer slow me down, and will continue to work until my retirement at the end of the year.”

glenn britt 2.jpgGlenn Britt

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Obama's FCC Appointments Are Approved

The Senate confirmed President Obama's two nominations to the Federal Communications Commission after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lifted his reservation on Tom Wheeler's nomination as chairman, reports The New York Times.

Cruz removed his hold on the nomination after he "received assurances from [Wheeler] that the commission would not immediately pursue changes for political advertising on television," the story notes.

Along with Wheeler, Michael O'Rielly was confirmed as a commissioner. The two seats had been empty since March, the story notes. Cruz had expressed concern that Wheeler "would push the FCC to expand disclosure requirements for political advertisements on television," the article notes.

The report adds: "The confirmations of Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O’Rielly bring the agency back to its full strength of five commissioners -- three of them Democrats and two Republicans -- and will allow the commission to get to work on several pressing issues that have not moved forward since the former chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced his resignation in March."

tom-wheeler-fcc.jpgTom Wheeler

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Original Cast Member Returns to 'Real Housewives'

One of the original cast members is returning to Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that Dina Manzo will be back on the show.

Manzo left during the second season, and then hosted "Dina's Party" on HGTV.

Her return comes as her sister, Caroline, plans to leave the program to shoot her own pilot for Bravo.

"The two siblings have been embroiled in a public feud for some time now," the story notes.

Dina Manzo tweeted Tuesday about her return to the show, writing: "Well I guess the (hairless) cats out of the bag. Yes I'm back, Unlike the past this time it felt 'right'~ See you on Bravo my friends."

Thumbnail image for dina manzo.jpgDina Manzo

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NBC Working on Drama From Writer/Producer Behind 'Murder, She Wrote' Reboot

NBC is developing a drama based on Harlan Coben's best-selling book "Gone for Good," with Alexandra Cunningham on board to adapt the project, reports Deadline.com. Cunningham is also writing and executive producing NBC's reboot of "Murder, She Wrote."

Cunningham will executive produce the Coben project with Coben, Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey. The project is about a man who searches for his missing brother, finding "so many twists and turns it leaves him doubting the actions of everybody he’s ever loved," the story notes.

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Chris Brown, Looking at Possible Four Years in Prison, Seeks Help With Anger Management Issues

Singer Chris Brown has entered a rehab facility in Malibu to deal with anger management problems, reports TMZ.com, which notes that the decision may help reduce a potential prison sentence.

At the same time, the Los Angeles County Probation Department is investigating whether Brown violated his probation in a recent incident in which he allegedly punched a man in the nose, the story says. The probation stems from a felony assault conviction in 2009 for an attack on pop singer Rihanna, who was Brown's girlfriend at the time.

"We've learned the L.A. County Probation Department is going full bore in its investigation to determine if Brown violated his probation in the Rihanna case by getting arrested in D.C. over the weekend," the TMZ report notes.

As previously reported, Brown was released from jail after he allegedly attacked a man who had photobombed the singer. He was booked on felony assault, with the charge later being reduced to a misdemeanor.

"We're told it's likely the Probation Department will determine that Brown violated his probation, and a judge could sentence him to as much as 4 years in prison," the report notes.

Thumbnail image for chris brown.pngChris Brown

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Bob Barker Books a TV Gig for His 90th Birthday

Bob Barker, the longtime host of "The Price Is Right," will celebrate his 90th birthday with a television appearance. The Associated Press reports that Barker will be a guest on the game show he hosted for 35 years.

Barker, who retired in 2007, will appear on the show on Dec. 12, his birthday, and present a special showcase for the event, the story says. The show will also pay tribute to its former host by featuring pet adoptions that week, from Dec. 9-13. Barker is an outspoken animal rights advocate.

The current host of "The Price Is Right" is Drew Carey.

For those old enough to remember, Barker also had another long stint on a game show, hosting "Truth or Consequences" from 1956 to 1974. His run on "The Price Is Right" from 1972-2007 helped make it the longest-running daytime game show of all time on North American TV.

bob barker.jpgBob Barker

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Break Out the Crying Towels: Due to a 'Deep Rift Within the Band,' the Jonas Brothers Are Breaking Up

The Jonas Brothers are breaking up, reports People magazine. The report comes just a few weeks after the group said it was canceling its tour because of a "deep rift within the band," the story says.

Kevin Jonas told the publication, "It's over for now." Joe Jonas added that the decision was "unanimous." The breakup comes after Nick Jonas told his brothers he had concerns about the group's future.

"I was feeling kind of trapped," Nick said, according to the story. "I needed to share my heart with my brothers."

The Jonas Brothers were featured in Disney Channel's "Camp Rock," and later starred in "Jonas L.A.," a Disney Channel series that aired for two seasons.

jonas brothers 2013.jpgThe Jonas Brothers

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Nielsen to Track TV Viewing on Smartphones, Tablets

Nielsen has announced "a new SDK (software development kit) that will allow it to track TV viewing on smartphones and other devices along with its regular TV ratings service," reports Mark Walsh at MediaPost's Online Media Daily

The story notes: "The media measurement firm said it would roll out the SDK for Nielsen clients by mid-November."

Walsh adds: "With the mobile TV audience expected to continue its growth, Nielsen’s aim is to provide a universal approach to measuring viewership regardless of platform. 'We’ve been working hard to deliver this new SDK and are excited to be able to deliver a single client solution that supports both the linear (TV style) and dynamic (Internet style) ad models,' said Megan Clarken, executive vice president, global product leader, Nielsen, in a post [Tuesday]. 'This unified encoding approach for video enables measurement to follow content across screens and ad models.'"

Walsh also notes in his story that Nielsen "says it is also relying on 'big data and a census-style measurement approach' to collect demographic data about streaming audiences.

"To do that, it will match user information 'in a privacy safe way' from data providers including Facebook, and calibrated with data from its National People Meter panel. Nielsen has a TV partnership with Twitter, but did not specify in its announcement whether the microblogging service would be among other data sources."

To read more details about this subject, please click on the link above, which will take you to Walsh's original story.

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Two Surprises From Susan Boyle: The 'Britain's Got Talent' Phenom Announces Plans for a BioPic About Her Life and She Will Release Upcoming Single of a Duet with ... the Late, Great King of Rock 'n' Roll (Really -- And She Says It Was Simon's Idea)

Two announcements from singer Susan Boyle.

First, her latest album, "Home for Christmas," which was released yesterday, Oct. 29, 2013, contains a duet by Boyle and Elvis Presley, who died in 1977. He recorded "O Come All Ye Faithful" in 1971, and now Boyle has added her vocals to that recording.

Boyle said "she is convinced that [Elvis'] ghost paid her a visit while she was performing the track in the studio," according to a story at contactmusic.com.

The article adds that Boyle said: ''I do sometimes feel his presence when I sing the song. I think he would be excited if he heard it and he liked it. Duetting with Elvis was beyond my wildest dreams.''

The story continues: "Music bosses have combined her vocals with those of Elvis ... to raise money for charity Save The Children, of which Susan is an ambassador. ... The 52-year-old singer is hoping to land the U.K. Christmas number one spot when the song is released on December 8. ... She has revealed that it was her mentor Simon Cowell's idea for a collaboration with Presley.

"Simon contacted Elvis' widow Priscilla Presley to get permission to record the track. Susan said: 'My dad and my whole family were Elvis fans and she gave me permission.'"

Regarding a Boyle biopic, The Guardian reports that it "looks like it is finally getting off the ground, thanks to the success of 'One Chance,' the film about another 'Britain's Got Talent' celebrity, Paul Potts. Speaking at a press conference to launch her Christmas single, Boyle said: 'There are plans in operation for that' and to 'watch this space.'"

susan boyle.pngSusan Boyle

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CBS Working on 24-Hour Digital News Service

CBS News is reportedly in talks with distributors about creating a 24-hour digital video news service. According to an exclusive report by Buzzfeed, the new programming service would be distributed on cellphones, tablets, game consoles and over-the-top TV distribution systems.

"The news and interactive divisions of CBS have been quietly developing a digital video service that continually streams content 24 hours a day and leverages reporting from its existing news staff and content from the broadcaster’s archives onto new distribution platforms, according to two sources close to the situation," the story reports.

The report adds: "These sources said CBS is currently in talks with distribution companies to carry the service, though no deals have been signed and an official launch date is still several months away at the earliest."

CBS News President David Rhodes is reportedly a strong advocate of the project.

Rhodes "has developed a close relationship with CBS Interactive President Jim Lanzone since both joined the company within a month of each other in 2011," the report notes. "Sources said Rhodes sees the product as a digital cable news channel that in essence would make up for the company’s lack of an actual cable television news outlet."

CBS News has been at something of a disadvantage against NBC and Fox, which both have sister cable news networks, the piece notes.

"Not only do NBC and Fox get funding through advertising on their broadcast networks to support their news operations, but also through the hefty carriage and advertising fees collected by MSNBC/CNBC and Fox News/Fox Business, respectively," the story reports.

One of the sources is quoted in the story saying: “You’ve heard people say that this is the golden age of TV, but that primarily refers to the entertainment side. [Rhodes] thinks news should be a part of that golden age and be available to stream on devices just like entertainment content.”

The report adds: "According to both sources, that means having CBS News content available as a standalone product for streaming for smartphones and tablets, on game consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony’s Playstation, on over-the-top TV distribution services such as Roku or Apple TV, and on online video platforms like Hulu Plus or YouTube, for instance. The service under development would be separate and distinct from both other CBS News-branded and show-specific (i.e., '60 Minutes') websites and apps."

CBS may partner with an exclusive distributor for the initial launch, the report notes, but ultimately the company wants to achieve the broadest distribution possible.

The story adds: "Calls for comment to CBS News and CBS Interactive were referred to a corporate representative who said only, 'There are all kinds of exciting opportunities offered by new platforms, and we intend to keep pursuing them. We are currently talking to a number of partners along these lines, but beyond that, decline to comment at this time.'”

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Merchant Navy Finds a Surprising Use for Britney Spears' Music in the Waters Off Africa

Even with almost 100 million albums sold worldwide, Britney Spears is not loved by everyone, and among the haters, as it turns out, are Somali pirates. NBC News reports that Spears' music is being used on the high seas to deter the pirates.

Merchant navy Second Officer Rachel Owens told the U.K. website Metro that Spears hits such as "Oops! I Did It Again" and "Baby One More Time" are helping to protect supertankers off Africa's east coast.

"Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most," Owens said. "These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect."

Owens added: "It’s so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns. As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can."

Metro reports: "Ships in the region are in constant danger from gun-toting pirates boarding and kidnapping crews for multi-million-pound ransoms. In 2011, there were 176 attacks on ships by gangs of bandits off the Horn of Africa. They are such a threat the Royal Navy has 1,500 sailors on 14 warships operating round-the-clock patrols in the area."

The NBC News report notes that other artists have also been used in law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts.

"Eminem's 'The Real Slim Shady' was played on loop for 20 days at a U.S. prison in Kabul, according to a detainee who told Human Rights Watch that 'plenty lost their minds' during the broadcast," the story reports.

The piece also notes: "Metallica's music was once on the terror playlist, used to 'soften people up' before interrogation, according to a Navy SEAL who spoke to Esquire. But eventually, their metal hits were taken out of rotation. 'Metallica got wind of this and they said, "Hey, please don't use our music because we don't want to promote violence,"' the SEAL recalled."

The report adds: "According to multiple reports, Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' was a big hit with the officials -- though not the prisoners -- at Guantanamo Bay. The track was said to serve as the morning wake-up call for years."

Thumbnail image for britney-spears.pngBritney Spears

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Will 'Walking Dead' Live On for a Fifth Season? The Decision Is In

"The Walking Dead" has been a huge hit for AMC, so it was widely expected by industry observers to be renewed for a fifth season. And as it turned out, they were right.

"In some of the least surprising renewal news imaginable, AMC has renewed 'The Walking Dead,'" The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports. "TV's top scripted performer will return in 2014 for a fifth season."

The cable channel also announced that showrunner Scott M. Gimple will be back in that position. "Gimple, who has been with the zombie drama based on Robert Kirkman's long-running comics since season one, ranks as the show's third showrunner, following Frank Darabont and Glen Mazzara," THR notes.

AMC President Charlie Collier made the announcement today, saying: "We are very happy to make what has to be one of the most anti-climactic renewal announcements ever: 'The Walking Dead' is renewed for a fifth season. This is a show that has erased traditional distinctions between cable and broadcast. Its expanding base of passionate fans has grown every season, most recently -- and most notably -- with the season-four premiere earlier this month, which broke viewership records for the series and became the biggest nonsports telecast in cable history. On behalf of the incredible team on both sides of the camera, thank you to the fans and here's to more 'Dead.'"

THR adds: "An exact episode count for season five has yet to be announced -- this season again consists of 16 total hours split in runs of eight -- and a renewal for Chris Hardwick-hosted companion 'Talking Dead' has also not yet been announced. But the talk show, which was expanded to an hour and runs immediately after the zombie drama, also returned to season highs this year and will likely return for another run."

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NBC Lineup Stands Tall Against Fox's Strong World Series Game 5

Fox and NBC broke out the heavy bats in a scuffle for prime-time viewers Monday night, with the end result being ... a tie. The two networks finished in a dead heat for first place in the prime-time ratings, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that NBC's "The Voice" finished as the top broadcast show of the night, even going head-to-head against a strong Game 5 of the World Series on Fox.

The two-hour "The Voice" finished with a 4.2 average in viewers 18-49, slipping 2% from last week's number, while Fox's World Series game settled for a 3.8 from 8-11 p.m. -- matching the most recent Game 5, in 2011, but losing 14% from this year's preliminary Game 4 number.

NBC got a 3.1 average in 18-49 out of "The Blacklist," which was up 3% from a week ago.

Third-place CBS had mixed results, with "How I Met Your Mother" slipping 3% from last week to a 2.9 average in the 18-49 demo, "2 Broke Girls" rising 4% to a 2.6, "Mom" dipping two-tenths of a point to a 2.1, and "Hostages" climbing 8% from last week's series low to a 1.3.

Head-to-head against "The Voice" and the World Series, ABC's two-hour "Dancing with the Stars" matched its lowest number ever for a Monday with a 2.0 in adults 18-49, the same as last week. "Castle" drifted up 11% from its season low a week ago to a 2.1.

For prime time overall, Fox and NBC tied for No. 1 in the 18-49 demo with 3.8 averages, followed by CBS (2.1 average), ABC (2.0) and Univision (1.3). Fox had a slight edge in total viewers, averaging 12.594 million to lead ABC (12.207 million), NBC (12.198 million), CBS (6.615 million) and Univision (3.287 million).

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Video: 'Babe' Star Presents Brutal Clip Aimed at Stopping Walmart 'Pig Torture'

One of the stars of the "Babe" movies, which feature a pig in the title role, is involved in a campaign to stop what's being called "pig torture" on the part of suppliers of pork to Walmart stores.

Actor James Cromwell, who plays farmer Arthur Hoggett in "Babe" and "Babe: Pig in the City," appears a new video in support of the campaign. The video is posted by a group called Mercy for Animals, and encourages viewers to visit the website WalmartCruelty.com.

The video appears below, but we have to caution you that the footage is disturbing.

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ABC Apologizes for 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' Skit -- Here's the Video

ABC has apologized for a skit on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in which a child suggested that the population of China could be killed to fix America's debt to the nation, reports TheWrap.com.

The skit involved a group of kids coming up with ideas about how America could erase its debt to the Asian nation. "Kill everyone in China," one child said in the skit, which aired last week. Other children offered what the article says were more "reasonable" methods, such as building a wall.

"We offer our sincere apology,” the network said. “We would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large. Our objective is to entertain.”

ABC said it would edit out the skit from repeats of the episode, the piece adds.

Here's the skit:

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NBC Developing Legal Drama With 'CSI' Mainstay

NBC is working with one of the mainstays behind the scenes at CBS's "CSI" on a new legal drama. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the network has given a script order to "Law Man," based on a book by convicted bank robber Shon Hopwood, who later became an attorney. The project comes from "CSI" writer and executive producer Carol Mendelsohn.

Hopwood will work as a consultant on the drama, which has tapped Mark Gibson and Philip Halprin to write the script and executive produce with Mendelsohn and Julie Weitz, the president of Carol Mendelsohn Productions. It's the second sale for Mendelsohn this development season, after selling a period surf drama to the CW, the piece notes.

"The drama also serves as CBS Television Studios' latest off-network sale as it looks to expand beyond its sibling networks CBS and the CW this development season. The studio also has efforts set up at ABC and Fox this season," the story adds.

carol mendelsohn.pngCarol Mendelsohn

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Nothing 'Happy' About David Arquette's Starring Role in Upcoming TV Movie -- Except the Title

David Arquette seems like a pleasant enough guy, and his upcoming TV movie is called "Happy Face," but that's where the pleasantries end. Deadline.com reports that Arquette will star as Canadian serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson in the project, which is in the works at Lifetime.

Jesperson was called the "Happy Face Killer" because he drew a happy face on a bathroom wall and in letters sent to the media and prosecutors, the piece says.

"A troubled kid of an abusive alcoholic father who tortured and killed animals and attempted to kill kids who bullied him, Jesperson spent 15 years as a married truck driver with three kids before getting divorced in 1990 and pursuing a career as a policeman," the story notes.

The piece adds: "After an injury derailed his plan, he returned to truck driving and launched his murdering spree, which spanned six U.S. states. Jesperson, who is serving life in prison, clams to have killed 160 people, but only eight victims have been confirmed including his girlfriend, which led to his 1995 capture."

david arquette.jpgDavid Arquette

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Suzanne Somers Comes Under Fire for Error-Riddled Obamacare Opinion Piece

Former "Three's Company" star Suzanne Somers is coming under fire for a Wall Street Journal opinion piece published Monday in which she attacks Obamacare -- with the piece containing a number of errors, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

Somers writes: "As a writer of 24 books mostly on health and wellness … I have come to the following conclusions: First of all, let's call affordable health care what it really is: It's socialized medicine."

She also implies that the health-care law is "a greater Ponzi scheme than that pulled off by Bernie Madoff."

Her opinion piece was undermined by three published corrections, notes the Times, which adds, "a high number for an article of fewer than 600 words." Two of the corrections have to do with quotes that were either disputed or unverifiable, while a third is due to an inaccurate description of a magazine cover.

The latter correction reads: "The cover of a Maclean’s magazine issue in 2008 showed a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline 'Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.' An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse."

The Times report adds: "Many readers weren't kind. 'Shouldn’t this be filed under humor?,' one commenter wrote."

The report also notes: "The Journal is owned by News Corp., the conglomerate controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News Channel."


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Which Halloween Costumes Are Hot This Year? Two TV Shows Lead the Pack -- Here's the Top 10

Two television-inspired costumes are leading the list of celebrity and pop-culture themed get-ups for this year's Halloween festivities: A&E's "Duck Dynasty" and Walter White from AMC's "Breaking Bad," The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The list is based on Yahoo searches, with the data compiled during the past week by Web trend expert Carolyn Clark, the story notes. Many of the other top celebrity costume searches involve movie characters, although Miley Cyrus came in at No. 8.

Here are the top 10 searches.

1. "Duck Dynasty" Halloween costume
2. Walter White costume
3. "Breaking Bad" costumes
4. Katniss costumes
5. Michael Myers costume
6. Zombie costumes
7. Minion costume
8. Miley Cyrus costume
9. Minecraft costumes
10. "50 Shades of Grey" Halloween costumes

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Good News, Bad News for Cinemax Drama: One More Season, Then It's Gone

A Cinemax drama series was renewed for one more season, but at the same time the show got word that it's done after that. EW.com's Inside TV reports that the pay-cable network picked up "Strike Back" for a fourth and final season.

"Cinemax/HBO, which co-produces the series with Left Bank and Sky, has ordered 10 new episodes that will premiere in 2014. Philip Winchester plays a steely British special-forces soldier and Sullivan Stapleton, who is the star of the upcoming '300' sequel, is the more renegade former U.S. Delta Force commando," the piece reports. Season 3 wrapped up on Cinemax Oct. 18.

The drama is based on a 2010 Sky TV (U.K.) original that starred Andrew Lincoln of "The Walking Dead," which aired for six episodes. The original series' short run was partly due to its stars' leaving to take on high-profile roles, the piece notes.

That original show is now airing on Cinemax as "Strike Back: Origins." Here's a teaser:

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Who's Not Excited About a Reboot of 'Charmed'? The Original Show's Leads

With CBS working on a reboot of the witch drama "Charmed," it turns out there are a few people who are less than excited about the idea: the original show's stars, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

As we reported Monday, CBS is developing the reboot of "Charmed," which ran on The WB from 1998 to 2006 and starred Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan and Holly Marie Combs. Shannen Doherty also starred during part of the run. The show was one of the WB Network's most popular programs.

"The thing about them doing a #charmed reboot is... it just... it feels like yesterday. It feels too close," Milano wrote on Twitter on Friday. She currently appears on ABC's "Mistresses" and on Lifetime's "Project Runway: All Stars."

Another former co-star also chimed in, with McGowan writing on Twitter, "They really are running out of ideas in Hollywood." She added, "lame lame lame lamertons."

holly-alyssa-rose-charmed.jpgHolly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan of "Charmed"

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With Assault Charge Reduced, Chris Brown Gets Out of Jail

Singer Chris Brown has been released from jail after his assault charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, reports People magazine.

As previously reported, Brown was arrested after allegedly attacking a man who had reportedly photobombed the singer.

Brown and his bodyguard were freed without bail. The singer's attorney said he had done nothing wrong, and that his security "acted to protect Mr. Brown and his property."

"The police report says [alleged victim Isaac Adams] Parker tried to get into a photo that Brown was posing for with a female fan when the singer said, 'I'm not down with that gay s--t' and 'I feel like boxing,'" People reports. "Brown then punched him in the face with his fist and the bodyguard stepped between them and also punched Parker in the face, according to the report."

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Free iPad Loans Included in Innovative 'TV on the Fly' Program From DISH and Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines and DISH have partnered on an innovative program that lets travelers borrow an iPad 2 from DISH’s “Watch TV on the Fly” lending libraries to gain free access to TV content on selected flights.

"Building upon the 'TV Flies Free' offering, passengers traveling between select cities can now check out an iPad 2 at their departure airport and view live and on-demand TV programs on Wi-Fi-enabled Southwest flights," the companies said in a press release announcing the program.

The libraries are found in Southwest terminals at Chicago-Midway International Airport, Denver International Airport and Oakland International Airport, the release notes.

"At each location travelers can check out an iPad for their flight, demo DISH’s Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR and sign up for DISH service," the release adds. "Guests who check out an iPad will be able to take advantage of Southwest’s free live-TV content on their flight and then easily return it at the arrival airport’s corresponding library. Visitors to these locations will also have the chance to win an iPad 2."

James Moorhead, chief marketing officer at DISH, said: “With the holiday travel season fast approaching, we want to give travelers the chance to relax and enjoy their favorite programming, whether in the air on Southwest or on the ground through DISH Anywhere. We are excited to further our partnership with Southwest and provide a great entertainment experience through our iPad lending program.”

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A&E Developing Reality Show With Action Film Star

A&E's lineup of reality stars, which already includes "Yuuup!"-ster Dave Hester of "Storage Wars" and the "Duck Dynasty" Robertson clan, may soon also include actor Channing Tatum.

TheWrap.com reports that the cable channel is developing a reality pilot with Tatum, who's known for his feature films including "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (2009), "Fighting" (2009) and this year's "White House Down."

The A&E project would track Channing's New Orleans nightclub Saints & Sinners, which he opened with a friend and business partner. It's not clear whether Tatum would be featured on the show, the piece notes.

The nightclub's motto is "Where the red light is always on."

Channing-Tatum.jpgChanning Tatum

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Swedish Thriller to Be Adapted for U.S. Drama Series

Chernin Entertainment is developing a U.S. drama series based on a Swedish novel called "De Redan Doda," by Robert Karjel, Deadline.com reports.

The story says the project is in the vein of the popular "Millennium" trilogy by Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson, which was developed into the "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" feature film franchise.

The new project, "The Swede," is about a Swedish secret service agent who is asked by the U.S. to interrogate someone also believed to be Swedish, the story notes. Instead, he gets pulled into a complicated investigation that touches on everything from the 2004 tsunami to a terrorist attack in Kansas.

"'De Redan Doda' was a hot title at the Frankfurt Book Fair earlier this month and was acquired by HarperCollins for publication in the U.S.," the piece adds.

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'The New Normal' Star Set to Return to HBO Series

One of the stars of NBC's Ryan Murphy series "The New Normal," which was canceled earlier this year after one season, has another TV job waiting for him. Deadline.com reports that Andrew Rannells will return to the HBO comedy series "Girls," and is slated to become a regular if the show is picked up for a fourth season.

Rannells will return in his role as Elijah, the gay ex-boyfriend of the character played by Lena Dunham. He will appear in the third season, the piece notes.

Rannells earned a Tony nomination for his role in Broadway's "The Book of Mormon."

andrew rannells.pngAndrew Rannells

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Late-Night Host Tapped for Syndicated Game Show

A new syndicated game show from FremantleMedia North America and Debmar-Mercury will be hosted by a well-known late-night talk show personality, reports The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

The star of CBS's "The Late Late Show," Craig Ferguson, will host "Celebrity Name Game," which is slated for a fall 2014 debut.

The show is based on he board game "Identity Crisis." Celebrities will work with contestants to identify names of notable people, ranging from fields such as politics to pop culture.

The project is developed by Courteney Cox and David Arquette's Coquette Productions. Scott St. John of "Deal or No Deal" has been tapped to serve as showrunner.

The show is the latest celebrity-focused game show, with NBC recently ordering a second season of "Hollywood Game Night," the story adds.

craig ferguson.pngCraig Ferguson

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Fox Networks Group Names New President and COO

The Fox Networks Group has appointed a new president and chief operating officer. The company announced today that it has promoted Randy Freer to the post, B&C reports.

Freer, who was co-president and chief operating officer of Fox Sports Media Group, will oversee revenue, distribution and operations for FNG, while also retaining his responsibilities for sports rights acquisitions. Eric Shanks will become sole president of Fox Sports Media Group after being co-president with Freer.

B&C reports: "In connection with the appointment, the following executives will now report to Freer: Michael Biard, president, distribution, Fox Networks; Toby Byrne, president, national ad sales, Fox Broadcasting Company, FSMG; Lou LaTorre, president, advertising sales, Fox Cable Entertainment Networks, Fox Hispanic Media Group; and Kyle Sherman, executive VP, Home Team Sports."

Company Chairman and CEO Peter Rice said: "Randy is an outstanding executive and having played a key role in growing our powerhouse television sports business, he brings impressive skills as both an operator and builder of businesses. He will be a key partner for me in overseeing and driving continued growth of our global channels business, which spans nearly 400 channels in 200 countries."

Randy Freer.pngRandy Freer

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'America's Favorite Serial Killer' Headed to Netflix

A deal between Netflix and CBS Corp. will send a character the companies call "America's favorite serial killer" to the streaming site, with the first four seasons of the Showtime drama "Dexter" to be offered on Netflix starting Oct. 31.

Seasons 5-8 will be available starting Jan. 1, 2014.

"Starring Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall, 'Dexter' tells the story of Dexter Morgan, America’s favorite serial killer," the companies said in their announcement. "As a Miami forensics expert, he spends his days solving crimes, and nights committing them. But Dexter lives by a strict code of honor that is both his saving grace and lifelong burden. Torn between his deadly compulsion and his desire for true happiness, Dexter is a man in profound conflict with the world and himself.

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, said: “We’re thrilled to have ‘Dexter,’ one of Showtime's highest-rated shows, on Netflix, and so quickly after it completed its record-breaking run. This is one of the great serialized dramas of the past decade and we know our members will enjoy discovering or reliving the twisted world of Dexter Morgan anywhere and anytime they want.”

Scott Koondel, chief corporate content licensing officer for CBS Corp., added: “We’re excited to expand our relationship with Netflix’s premium service with this groundbreaking Showtime series. Showtime has created one of the signature programming brands on television, and this agreement for ‘Dexter’ further demonstrates the value of this content in the marketplace while expanding the show’s passionate fan base to a whole new online audience.”

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NFL vs. World Series Steals Sunday Spotlight as Non-Sports Programs Come Up Short

Sports programming took center stage on the broadcast networks Sunday night, as NBC's coverage of NFL football got the edge on Fox's World Series coverage -- leaving the regular programming on ABC and CBS in the dust, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Fox took the overall win for prime time, with its World Series game backed up by NFL overrun and postgame coverage. For prime time overall, Fox had a 5.1 average rating in viewers 18-49, followed by NBC (4.5 average), ABC (1.5), CBS (1.5) and Univision (1.1). Fox also won total viewers, averaging 16.7 million to lead NBC (12.3 million), CBS (9.1 million), ABC (5.5 million) and Univision (2.9 million).

The report notes that preliminary figures for Fox and NBC are unreliable due to the nature of live programming, and more than the usual adjustments can be expected.

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" game pitting the Packers against the Vikings delivered a 5.6 average rating in 18-49 from 8:30-11 p.m. -- well below the 9.5 preliminary number for last week's game.

Fox's World Series Game 4 delivered a 4.4 from 8-11 p.m., as the Red Sox evened the Series against the Cardinals at 2-2. The demo number was up from a 4.0 for last year's Game 4.

In non-sports programming, ABC's "Once Upon a Time" led the pack in Sunday prime, rising 5% from a week ago to a 2.2 average in the 18-49 demo. ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" hit a season high, rising 27% from last week's series low to a 1.4; "Revenge" equaled last week's season-low 1.5; and "Betrayal" inched up 11% to a 1.0.

CBS was paced by "The Amazing Race" with a 1.7 in adults 18-49, down 11% from a week ago, while "60 Minutes" lost 46% to settle at 1.5. "The Good Wife" equaled its 1.4 from the previous week, and "The Mentalist" bounced back 8% from its series low last week to record a 1.3.

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NBC Developing Lesbian Sitcom

NBC has a comedy project in the works that features a lesbian character in the lead, Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com. The multicamera show will be executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, who came out as a lesbian on her own sitcom 16 years ago, the piece notes.

"The untitled project, written/exec produced by openly gay comedy scribe Liz Feldman ('2 Broke Girls'), centers on a lesbian and her straight male best friend who get pregnant just as he meets and marries the love of his life," the story reports. "Warner Bros. TV and DeGeneres’ studio-based A Very Good Production are producing, with AVGP’s Jeff Kleeman also exec producing. Feldman previously worked for two years on DeGeneres’ hit syndicated talk show and wrote for DeGeneres’ first stint as Oscar host. (She returns to Oscar duties on March 2)."

Andreeva adds: "NBC has a tradition with gay-themed comedies, most notably 'Will & Grace,' and launched two half-hour series centered on gay men the last two seasons with 'The New Normal' and 'Sean Saves the World.'"

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ellen-degeneres.pngEllen DeGeneres

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New Daytime Talk Show From NBCU Hits 60% Distribution

NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution announced that it has reaced the 60% distribution mark as it sells its upcoming daytime talker "The Meredith Vieira Show." The show is set to debut in fall 2014.

Ed Swindler, President, NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution and NBC Broadcast Operations, made the announcement.

Said Swindler: "The response from our station partners has been tremendous and we are very pleased with the fantastic reception that we have received over the past few weeks for the upcoming ‘The Meredith Vieira Show.' Meredith has an ongoing genuine relationship with the daytime viewer and her authentic, fun and down-to-earth style creates an instant connection with the daytime audience.”

The company said in its announcement: "The new one-hour show starring award-winning TV personality Meredith Vieira has been sold in the nation’s top markets to station groups that include NBC Owned Television Stations (as previously announced), Hearst Television, Sinclair Broadcast Group, LIN Media, Cordillera Communications, Gray Television, Post-Newsweek, Schurz Communications, London Broadcasting, Hubbard Broadcasting, Bonneville, Meredith Corporation, Young Broadcasting, Raycom Media, Quincy, Cox Media Group and more."

Thumbnail image for meredith-vieira2.jpgMeredith Vieira

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Veteran TV Actress Dead at 89

A veteran television actress with a career going back to the 1950s has died. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mary Carver, best known for playing the mother of the title brothers on "Simon & Simon," died at 89.

Carver played Cecilia Simon on 153 episodes of the 1980s drama, which focused on two brothers operating a detective agency, the story notes.

Carver had a number of TV appearances in the 1950s, including guest roles on "Whirlybirds," "Black Saddle" and "The Donna Reed Show." Later TV work included "McCloud," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and a number of appearances on "Gunsmoke." She was also seen on "Quincy: M.E.," "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "ER," among many other shows.

On film, she appeared in movies including "From Here to Eternity" (1953) and "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" (1977).

mary carver.jpgMary Carver

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'Dancing With the Stars' Winner Under Fire for Blackface Costume

A "Dancing with the Stars" winner has apologized after creating an outcry with a Halloween costume that included blackface, reports TheWrap.com.

Julianne Hough tweeted that she didn't mean to be disrespectful by dressing up as Crazy Eyes from Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black." Hough is a professional ballroom dancer and a two-time winner on the ABC dance competition.

"I am a huge fan of the show Orange is the New black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created,” Hough tweeted. “It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize.”

The story notes, "Of course, the fallout from these kind of racially charged makeup can be intense. In 1993, Ted Danson stirred up blistering media criticism after appearing in blackface at a Friar’s Club comedy roast in honor of then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg. He also offered up a boatload of racially offensive humor, which didn’t help matters."

julianne hough-blackface.png

Julianne Hough in blackface

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Back From the Dead: Formerly Canceled Series Renewed for Another Season

A cable series that was canceled last year appears to now be alive and well. TheWrap.com reports that the drama series "Drop Dead Diva" received an order from Lifetime for a sixth season.

Budget cuts helped make the show's revival possible, and the supernatural drama is now in its fifth season, airing on Sundays. The drama stars Brooke Elliott as a thin model whose soul, after she dies in an accident, enters the body of a plus-sized attorney.

The series is from Sony Television and was created by Josh Berman. The 13-episode sixth season will air in 2014.

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Legendary Rock Band Cancels Tour Dates After Bassist's Cancer Diagnosis

A bass player who has been a fixture of rock music since the 1960s was diagnosed with cancer, prompting his band to cancel part of its world tour. Reuters reports that Fleetwood Mac veteran John McVie will undergo treatment for cancer.

Fleetwood Mac canceled the Australia/New Zealand leg of its tour to enable McVie, 67, to get treatment during that period.

"The band, known for such 1970s hits as 'Don't Stop' and 'Dreams,' had just completed the European segment of the tour," Reuters reports. "It was to make 14 stops in Australia and New Zealand, the group said in a statement on its website."

Band members Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham said in the statement: "We hope our Australian and New Zealand fans as well as Fleetwood Mac fans everywhere will join us in wishing John and his family all the best."

Reuters adds: "McVie joined Fleetwood Mac shortly after its formation in London in 1967. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998."

john mcvie-bass.jpg

John McVie

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AMC Networks to Buy Massive Broadband Company for $1 Billion

AMC Networks Inc. said it will pay about $1.04 billion for a broadband provider in an effort to gain greater control over global distribution of the company's programming. Reuters reports that AMC will buy Chellomedia, the international content division of John Malone's Liberty Global.

Chellomedia reportedly is one of the largest international channel groups, providing its network channels to more than 390 million households in 138 countries.

"Liberty Global said the deal would help it simplify its business and allow it to focus on its core market," the story reports. "Malone, known as the 'King of Cable,' jumped back into the U.S. cable market earlier this year by buying a 28 percent stake in Charter Communications. Until then, he had been on a decade-long acquisition spree in Europe."

Liberty Global is the largest cable operator in Europe, the report notes, adding that the company "was recently outmaneuvered by Vodafone in competing bids for German operator Kabel Deutschland."

In a research note, J.P. Morgan Cazenove analyst Carl Murdock-Smith said: "In our view, the (Chellomedia) disposal improves Liberty's liquidity to potentially help fund acquisitions."

AMC Networks is home to hit shows including "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead." The businesses the company is purchasing include Chello Central Europe, Chello Latin America and Chello Zone, the report notes.

"The network will also acquire Chellomedia's stakes in joint ventures with CBS International, A+E Networks, Zon Optimus and other partners," the report adds. "AMC Networks has been spending money to develop content to and expand programming on AMC and its other channels, which include Sundance and IFC."

The story notes: "Analysts have predicted a wave of consolidation in the U.S. cable industry, which faces rising programming costs as well as technology threats from upstarts such as Netflix Inc."

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TV Show Boosts Tourism for East Coast Town

A village on the East Coast with a famous name is seeing a bump in tourism attributed to a new hit television series. EW.com's Inside TV reports that the tourism business is booming in the village of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

The town is getting attention because of the new Fox series "Sleepy Hollow," which is based on the 1819 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," the story reports.

"We’ve always had people from all over come to our Halloween events, but the Fox show has really added to that," said Anthony Giaccio, the town's administrator. That's helping a town that was hit by the 1996 closure of a General Motors assembly plant, the piece notes. The town voted that same year to change its name to Sleepy Hollow from North Tarrytown.

The piece adds: "Giaccio said the tourist season seems to be getting longer, starting in mid-September and stretching into mid-November, but the village hopes to encourage people to visit at other times of the year as well. A current TV ad, created using a state grant, says Sleepy Hollow 'isn’t all about horror' -- but the characters intoning the phrase include the Grim Reaper and a disembodied head."

The original story focused on a superstitious schoolteacher named Ichabod Crane, while in the TV show, he's reimagined as a savvy Oxford-educated Englishman who wakes up in modern America after sleeping for more than 200 years. The show is actually taped in Wilmington, N.C., the piece adds.


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CBS Readying Reboot of Hit Series That Ran for Eight Seasons on Another Broadcast Network

A series that ran on broadcast TV for eight seasons, racking up 178 episodes, is in the works as a reboot at CBS, reports Joe Adalian in New York Magazine. The series is the supernatural WB comedy-drama "Charmed," which aired from 1998-2006.

"Details are scant right now, but 'Party of Five' co-creator Chris Keyser and partner Sydney Sidner are co-writing the project, which insiders describe as a 're-imagining' of the original series about a sisterhood of witches who use their powers for good. CBS TV Studios, which has the rights to all of the [Aaron] Spelling library, is producing the project alongside the Tannenbaum Company," Adalian writes.

Of course, it's early in the development process and there's no guarantee the show will make it to pilot. "CBS has only ordered a script for a pilot, and it hasn't committed to filming anything," Adalian notes.

The effort comes on the heels of a surge in popularity for horror and fantasy projects, such as AMC's "The Walking Dead" and FX's "American Horror Story: Coven," the report notes.

"Charmed," which starred Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan and Holly Marie Combs, and featured Shannen Doherty during a portion of its run, was one of the most successful series on the WB Network, which is now defunct.

"So, yeah: This seems at least as logical as a 'Murder, She Wrote' revival," Adalian writes.

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Singer Chris Brown Arrested, Accused of Felony Assault

Singer Chris Brown was arrested after allegedly attacking a man outside the W Hotel in Washington D.C., after Brown reportedly became enraged that the victim had photobombed a picture, reports TMZ.com.

Brown was about to take a photo with two women, when the man and his friend apparently photobombed the singer, who then reportedly "went nuts" and punched the man in the face. The victim claims he may need surgery after his nose was broken, the story adds.

The singer allegedly said, "I'm not into this gay s**t, I'm into boxing," before striking the man.

But TMZ notes that there is another side to the story.

"Sources connected with Chris tell TMZ ... the alleged victim is full of BS. He was NOT trying to take a pic with Chris ... he was trying to get on Chris' tour bus, and Brown was simply trying to stop a trespass. The sources say before the incident the 2 girls tried to get on the bus but they were stopped, and that's when the victim and his friend made their move," the piece adds.

Brown and his bodyguard, who was also arrested, remained in jail Sunday but were scheduled to appear before a magistrate today, the piece adds.

"Brown is still on probation in the Rihanna beating case and this could be grounds for violating his probation -- which means he could be sentenced to prison for nearly 4 years ... worst case scenario for him," TMZ notes.

chris brown.pngChris Brown

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Netflix in Talks for a Third Season of 'House of Cards'

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos says the online streaming company is in talks about a third season of "House of Cards," Deadline.com reports.

"Our intent is that the show keep going for sure,” he said. Sarandos was delivering the keynote address at the Film Independent Forum on Saturday, the piece adds.

Sarandos said: "It was a 26-episode commitment. It was not our intent that it just run for two seasons."

The story notes, "Former 'House of Cards' EP Rick Cleveland said last month that the series would wrap up after its second season. The lack of any new deal announcement despite the breakout 'HoC' proved to be for Netflix fueled speculation about its demise after the current two-season deal was up. The second season of the Kevin Spacey starring series, which is presently in its last week of production, is expected to debut on Netflix early next year."

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Stars of Hit Reality Show to Release Christmas Album

The cast members of a wildly popular reality show are putting out a Christmas album. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the Robertsons, the Louisiana family featured on A&E's "Duck Dynasty," will release an album including standards along with songs written by cast members from the show.

The album will include new songs such as "Ragin' Cajun Redneck Christmas," written by Willie Robertson and songwriter Dallas Davidson, the story notes. The family will also sing on the album, along with top country stars such as George Strait and Alison Krauss.

"Duck Dynasty" tracks the clan and its duck-call business.

The album is called "Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas."

duck the halls album.jpg

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Critics Be Damned: Fox Ups Order for Comedy Series

A comedy series that is reviled by critics has received a full-season order from Fox. The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that the network added nine episodes to its order for "Dads," bringing the Seth MacFarlane series to 22 episodes.

The show "made its fall debut with bad buzz already in the air, with many condemning it as racist," the Times reports. "Despite the harsh reviews, its modest ratings haven't worked against it just yet."

While the series' ratings have been relatively soft on Tuesday nights, the show has proved consistent and performed above "The Mindy Project" among viewers 18-49. "Dads" recently drew 3.61 million viewers in the demographic segment, compared with 2.86 million for "Mindy," the piece notes.

In a statement, Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said: "Fox has been looking to break into the multi-camera format for some time. With 'Dads,' we have an asset that we can grow, and we’re looking forward to seeing where the fantastic cast and the creative minds of [executive producers] Seth, Alec [Sulkin], Mike [Scully] and Wellesley [Wild] take us the rest of the season.”

The series stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi.

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Time Warner Cable, Charter and DirecTV May Create Their Own Aereo-Type Service to Avoid Paying Retrans Fees

Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and DirecTV are examining a move that would take a page from Aereo by creating their own broadcast-TV streaming service as a way to avoid paying billions in retransmission fees, reports Bloomberg.

Retransmission fees are vital for the broadcast television industry, and are slated to double to $6.1 billion by 2018 from about $3 billion this year, Bloomberg notes. Currently Aereo is battling lawsuits from CBS and other broadcasters over its service, which costs $8 a month for online access to broadcast TV.

"If Aereo prevails, cable companies could use the same approach to bypass the fees they now pay for network signals," the story reports, citing sources who did not want to be identified because talks are in the early stages. "Time Warner Cable has even considered buying Aereo, said one of the people."

Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff said Aereo's concept is "very interesting" if it's found to be legal, "especially as it relates to retransmission consent fees."

Charter and Aereo declined to comment, while DirecTV didn't return requests for comment, the story says.

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Marcia Wallace, an Actress Who Entertained Generations of TV Viewers Over the Past 40 Years, Dies at Age 70

Marcia Wallace, 70, who provided the Emmy Award-winning voice of schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on the long-running animated series "The Simpsons," has died, reports The New York Times.


Wallace is also known for her role as Carol Kester, the receptionist on "The Bob Newhart Show," on which she appeared in almost every episode, the piece adds. The program ran from 1972-1978 on CBS.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, the day after Wallace died, "The Simpsons" producers announced that Krabappel's character would be retired from the show. The schoolteacher had recently fallen in love with Ned Flanders, the neighbor of the Simpson family.

Wallace, whose death was confirmed by "Simpsons" producer Al Jean, had been a survivor of breast cancer since 1985, the story notes. She had spoken about the topic and appeared on a 1998 cover of People magazine.

"Wallace’s close friend Cathryn Michon, who co-wrote and directed the actress’ final movie, the upcoming 'Muffin Top,' ...said that Wallace passed away of complications from other illnesses and was breast cancer free at the time of her death," according to Deadline.com.

marcia wallace-newhart.jpgMarcia Wallace as Carol Kester on "The Bob Newhart Show"

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Who Knew? Very Young Kids (2-7 Years Old) Spend 'Billions of Minutes' Watching TV Shows on ... iPads

"Noting that tablet computers like the iPad are increasingly the 'first screen' for pre-school-age viewers, Disney executives said they would make the first nine episodes of a prominent new series available on mobile devices first. The series, 'Sheriff Callie’s Wild West,' will arrive on the Watch Disney Junior app and a related Web site on Nov. 24. Then, early next year, the series will have its debut on two traditional TV networks, Disney Channel and Disney Junior."

So writes Brooks Barnes in The New York Times. The story continues: "'This is an entirely new approach for us,' said Nancy Kanter, executive vice president and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, which is aimed at children age 2 to 7. 'We have been amazed at how quickly kids have embraced this new technology. We’re talking billions of minutes spent watching.'”

Enabling this phenomenon, according to the story, is the fact that in more that half of the nation's homes with kids, someone owns a tablet, of which Apple's iPad continues to be the market share leader. 

Check out the astonishing stat in this paragraph from the story: "'We get a lot of e-mails from dads saying, "Thanks for giving me back my TV,"' said Albert Cheng, the Disney-ABC Television Group’s digital media chief, referring to the Watch Disney Junior app, which the company says has been downloaded 5 million times and has generated more than 650 million video views since its introduction in June 2012."

To read more about Disney's new "tablet first" strategy, please click on the link above, which will take you to Barnes' original story.

phineas and ferb iPad app.jpgThe iPad App for Disney's kids show "Phineas and Ferb"

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Lou Reed Dies at 71: He Was a Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer Who Influenced Generations of Musicians

"Lou Reed, 71, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today [at his home in Southampton, on Long Island, New York]" writes Jon Dolan on the Rolling Stone website.

"The cause was liver disease, said Dr. Charles Miller of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where Mr. Reed had liver transplant surgery earlier this year and was being treated again until a few days ago," according to The New York Times.

Says Dolan in his Rolling Stone obituary, "With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the Seventies into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. "

Dolan adds that the Velvet Underground's first album, "The Velvet Underground and Nico," while "met with total commercial indifference when it was released in early 1967, stands as a landmark on par with the Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and Bob Dylan's 'Blonde On Blonde.' Reed's matter-of-fact descriptions of New York’s bohemian demimonde, rife with allusions to drugs and S&M, pushed beyond even the Rolling Stones’ darkest moments, while the heavy doses of distortion and noise for its own sake revolutionized rock guitar. The band’s three subsequent albums ... were similarly ignored. But they’d be embraced by future generations, cementing the Velvet Underground’s status as the most influential American rock band of all time."

Indeed, The New York Times' estimable music critic Jon Pareles once called Reed "punk-rock's godfather."

According to urban myth, Brian Eno supposedly said about the first Velvet Underground LP: "It only sold a few thousand copies, but everyone who bought one started a band." In fact, after its first two years the LP had sold about 60,000 copies

In 1972, Reed released what was to be his most popular song, "Walk on the Wild Side."

According to The Times, "Mr. Reed is survived by his wife, the composer and performance artist Laurie Anderson. Dr. Miller said Mr. Reed decided to return to New York after the doctors could no longer treat his end-stage liver disease. 'He died peacefully, with his loved ones around him,' Dr. Miller said."

Here's Reed singing "Walk on the Wild Side" years ago on Letterman:

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OMG: It's a Battle Royale Between Deadline Founder and Editor in Chief Nikki Finke and the Owner of Her Site, Jay Penske. It's Being Played Out on Deadline.com and on Twitter. Finke Tweets: 'Earth to Penske: I Like to Brawl, Remember?'

By Chuck Ross

Memo to Deadline.com owner Jay Penske: If you’re going to go to war with Nikki Finke about issues surrounding the website she founded, your back is against the wall, your shirt-tail's on fire and the bill collector’s at the door, as Dan Rather would say.

To continue with the Ratherisms, to fight her about Deadline.com you’ve got to have a slight hitch in your giddy-up.

You own the site, so, of course, in the end you can do with it what you please. But you won’t win a popularity contest against Finke. She and her legions of fans are closer than Lassie and Timmy.

End of the Ratherisms and end of memo.

Here’s what’s going on -- in public, at least, as of this morning, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, at 8:28 a.m. PT. This latest dispute between Penske and Finke became public, as we previously reported, on Thursday, Oct. 24, when Finke said she was negotiating to leave Deadline. In one of her tweets on Thursday she wrote, “All that's left is for the lawyers to disentangle me from Penske. I have no idea why he has fought so hard to keep me. I'll be free soon.”

The situation escalated yesterday (Friday). In order, here are the tweets Finke posted yesterday. TVWeek's comments are in brackets [ ]:

1) Penske has given the Deadline redesign to the same guy that redesigned Variety's unreadable website. I've still had zero input.

2) Penske keeps sending me legal letters since I began giving interviews. Latest one this am demands I remove and retract my tweets.

[Most notably, Finke, who, reportedly, has been in Hawaii for some time, gave an interview to Brooks Barnes of The New York Times on Sept. 18, 2013, about her dispute with Penske.]

3) Earth To Penske: Hollywood tried and failed to intimidate me. Big Media tried and failed to intimidate me. I like to brawl, remember?


[All caps done by Finke on this tweet. This linked to a story Finke wrote on Deadline, which was odd because she tweets that she was locked out of the site. Finke wrote on Deadline: “I have been locked out of the Deadline Hollywood site after founding it 7 ¹/₂ years ago. So don’t expect any more box office. I also just tried to post an exclusive involving Jeff Robinov and Sony Pictures and GK Films’ Graham King and Dune Capital Management Steve Mnuchin but only the alert went through. What an extremely sad day.” [The Robinov story eventually was published on Deadline, but this post written by Finke that we’ve just quoted was later removed from the site.]

5) I have been locked out of the Deadline Hollywood website which I founded 7 1/2 years ago. Jay Penske gave the order. Not even the staff knew

6) So don't expect any more box office from me. I also just tried to post an exclusive involving Jeff Robinov and Sony Pictures but couldn't.

7) Robinov-Sony post was directed to Trash. Now, suddenly, the post has been restored. However my access inside Deadline admin greatly reduced.

8) I now only have very limited access inside the Deadline website's admin after 7 1/2 years of full access. What a very sad day.

9) For weeks now Jay Penske pledged to me he would wage 'nuclear war' on me unless I obeyed him and stayed at Deadline. He started it Wednesday

10) I'm going to try to resume my box office story. But there's all sorts of alerts showing that Tech staff are inside my story. Hmm.

11) I actually had to go to the Deadline website home page and see if I was still listed as Editor in Chief and Founder.

12) Interesting. I am no longer locked out of Deadline and my stories no longer going to Trash. I assume Penske now wants clean hands.

13) Fleming On Deadline’s Efforts To Restore Nikki Finke’s Game-Changing Writer Voice

[This tweet by Finke linked to a piece written by Deadline.com staffer Mike Fleming Jr. and posted at 5:28 p.m. PT yesterday. There is no explanation accompanying the story as to why it is written by Fleming and not Penske. In Deadline's "About Us" section Finke is listed as "General Manager, Editor in Chief and Founder of Deadline Hollywood." Fleming is listed as "Film Editor for Deadline Hollywood and is known for his industry relationships and his talent for breaking news. ... Mike has been with Deadline since 2010 after working at Variety for twenty years as a reporter, writer and columnist."

Fleming's piece begins “A little perspective on what is really going on with Deadline Hollywood founder Nikki Finke. For the past few months, she has unfortunately turned an internal matter, her dissatisfaction, into a public spectacle. While Nikki has been doing box-office from Hawaii for the last five months, the Deadline team that keeps this publication awash in scoops has continued to take the high ground and has absorbed these ridiculous barbs. Her latest flurry of dispatches warrants a response.”

Fleming then writes, “... Nikki has been restricted to filing and editing her own stories. Secondly, she has complained she is prevented from running Deadline stories on her personal Twitter feed, because she has too many followers. The truth is, she has built a Twitter following with a site that gives the appearance she writes every story on Deadline, when her output continues to diminish. That traffic belongs to Deadline’s Twitter feed. The reason for this and other changes is simple. We are trying to strip away the distractions and diversions that have gotten between her doing what she does best, which is filing provocative copy like the Jeff Robinov scoop earlier today.”

Fleming adds, “She says on Twitter that she can’t wait to tell the truth about Hollywood. Nobody ever wanted her to stop doing that here. We want the old Nikki Finke back. If she returns -- she is under contract until 2016 -- we will welcome her with open arms. If she doesn’t, we will survive, knowing in our hearts that she is miscast as the victim in this drama. … Penske invested his money and time to help her build this business, and ultimately make her a multi-millionaire ..."

[In a move that is likely unprecedented on Deadline.com, the company disables the mechanism that lets readers make comments about this Fleming story.]

14) Penske parent company now deleting comments to my stories. At least 93 comments in support of me have suddenly disappeared in minutes.

15) I love Mike. I love Nellie I love the DH team. But I'm fed up with Jay Penske ignoring our website's need for more resources and staff.

[In his story Fleming also writes, “Contrary to her assertion that we are reducing resources, we have plans to add staff as soon as next month.”]

So far, that’s what’s gone on, at least in public.  As Drudge says, “Developing …”

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World Series Game 2: Another Ratings Win for Fox, Another Night of Lows for Rival Nets

Fox found the secret to prime-time ratings success again Thursday night, following up its Wednesday night win -- which was fueled by Game One of the World Series -- with another win for Game Two, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Game Two, in which the St. Louis Cardinals evened the Series by beating the Boston Red Sox, delivered a 3.4 preliminary rating in 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. -- up from a 2.9 for the equivalent number last year. The report notes that the year-ago number was eventually adjusted upward to a 3.5.

Some of the other big four broadcast networks, meanwhile, had to endure another round of season lows. Second-place CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" fell three-tenths of a point from last week in the 18-49 demo to a season-low 4.9 -- still the best number for any broadcast show last night.

CBS also saw series lows for freshman comedies "The Millers" (2.8 in 18-49, down four-tenths from last week) and "The Crazy Ones" (2.3, down one-tenth). Two other shows posted increases: "Two and a Half Men" ticked up two-tenths from last week's all-time low to a 2.3, and "Elementary" also bounced back from its series low, rising three-tenths to a 1.8.

ABC notched its own season low, a 3.0 average for "Scandal" in the 18-49 demo, off three-tenths of a point from the previous week. "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" slipped one-tenth to a 1.1, but "Grey's Anatomy" bucked the trend, inching up one-tenth to a 2.8.

NBC was well off the pace of the other major broadcasters, with a repeat of "The Voice" settling for a 1.3 average in viewers 18-49 before the network unspooled two hours of original programs. "Parenthood" matched the "Voice" rerun's 1.3, which also matched last week's number.

Two new NBC Thursday night comedies matched last week's numbers, which represent a pretty low bar: "Sean Saves the World" delivered another 1.1 average in 18-49, and "The Michael J. Fox Show" came in again with a 1.2.

For prime time overall, Fox's 3.4 average led the way in adults 18-49, followed by CBS (2.7 average), ABC (2.3), NBC (1.3) and Univision (1.3). Fox won total viewers with 12.7 million, leading CBS (10.3 million), ABC (7.2 million), NBC (4.6 million) and Univision (3.7 million).

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A Key Market Segment Is Turning Increasingly to TV Advertising

As TV outlets struggle to squeeze what they can out of a tough advertising market, they're increasingly getting help from one important market segment. Media Life reports that automakers are increaingly relying on television to get their brand messages out.

"A new report from Kantar Media finds that from 2009, at the start of the recession, to 2012, TV’s share of auto ad spending rose by almost 10 percentage points, going from 53.9 percent in 2009 to 63.3 percent in 2012," the story reports. "At the same time, the percentage of auto budgets dedicated to newspapers, magazines and even new media fell."

Said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media: “Local media are extremely important for auto. All dealer spending is local, and manufacturers use local media to tailor lease, APR and rebate offers by market. The diminishment of newspaper and radio audiences has reduced local media options for auto advertisers, driving money to local TV (and web).”

In the three-year period covered by the study, newspapers’ share of auto advertising fell by 6.1 percentage points, magazines were down 2.9 points and online media fell almost one point.

For every car sold, automakers spent $1,268 in 2012. "That’s the lowest number since the Great Recession began, reflecting in part the increase in car buying last year," the story notes. "Car sales were up 14 percent, to 14.5 million. Auto spending was up too, but only by 7 percent."

The report adds: "At the height of the recession, in 2010, car sales declined to under 11 million. Auto advertisers averaged $1,415 on TV advertising for every car they sold that year."

Kantar's Swallen notes: “Over the past seven years, the number of cars sold annually has ranged from a low of 10.4 million to a high of 17 million. That’s a spread of over 60 percent. During this same period, the ratio of ad spend per car sold has varied by no more than 15 percent. Which demonstrates that auto manufacturers and dealers scale their budgets up or down in lockstep with the sales climate for vehicles."

Media Life adds: "The report does criticize automakers’ tendency to bunch advertising in the same news and sports programming. During the World Series, for example, you’ll see the same ads over and over again for the same cars. Kantar says that this may be 'undercutting the objective of the creative, which is to make them stand out.'”

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Big Ratings Win for CNN

CNN found a way to beat its cable news competition Thursday night. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the CNN Films documentary "Blackfish," about the fate of killer whales in captivity, won the 9-11 p.m. block in the key demos of adults 25-54 and adults 18-49.

The program averaged 472,000 viewers in adults 25-54, easily beating Fox News Channel (311,000) and MSNBC (235,000), the story reports.

The show did even better in adults 18-49. "Blackfish" averaged 688,000 viewers, beating the combined total for FNC (216,000) and MSNBC (173,000).

"Besting all other CNN Films this year, the Sundance Film Festival favorite premiered after a big promotional push from the network," THR reports. "Total viewers for the two-hour block saw FNC maintain its typical lead with 1.89 million viewers, but CNN rose to a strong second with 1.36 million viewers. MSNBC averaged 867,0000."

Leading out from "Blackfish," CNN aired Anderson Cooper's 90-minute "AC Special Report" at 11 p.m. "It placed second to FNC (1.2 million viewers, 334,000 adults 25-54) with 560,000 viewers and 231,000 in the demo," THR reports, adding: "MSNBC averaged 361,000 viewers and 74,000 adults 25-54 for the same time period."


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Comedy Central Slates Stand-Up Special Starring 'SNL' Alum

Comedy Central has taken the wraps off plans for an hourlong stand-up special starring a former regular on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Deadline.com reports that the show will spotlight David Spade.

The program, "David Spade: My Fake Problems," will be executive produced by Spade along with Marc Gurvitz and John Irwin, the report notes. The show tapes in December in Hollywood.

"While Spade started his career as a comedian, this is only his second stand-up special and the first on Comedy Central -- he previously headlined 1999′s 'David Spade: Take the Hit' on HBO," the report notes.

Since he left "SNL" in 1996, Spade has kept busy with a number of film and TV roles, including the feature "Joe Dirt" and the series "Just Shoot Me!" and "Rules of Engagement."

david-spade.jpgDavid Spade

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Fox Announces Midseason Schedule -- 'Idol' Bows Jan. 15; New Legal Drama and New Animation Domination Block on Tap

Fox has announced its schedule of midseason premieres, with the new legal drama "Rake" getting a two-night launch and "American Idol" set for a two-part season premiere Wednesday, Jan. 15, and Thursday, Jan. 16.

Here's the schedule, with times ET/PT except as noted:

Friday, Jan. 10:

9:30 p.m.: "Enlisted" (Series Premiere)

Saturday, Jan. 11:

11 p.m.-midnight: "Animation Domination High-Def," featuring "Lucas Bros. Moving Co." and "Golan the Insatiable"

Wednesday, Jan. 15:

8-10 p.m.: "American Idol" (Season Premiere, Part One)

Thursday, Jan. 16:

8-10 p.m.: "American Idol" (Season Premiere, Part Two)

Sunday, Jan. 19:

6-10 p.m. ET: NFC Championship Game (Live)

10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT): "Rake" (Series Premiere, Night One)

Monday, Jan. 20:

8 p.m.: "Sleepy Hollow" (Season Finale; Special Time)

9 p.m.: "The Following" (Season Premiere)

Thursday, Jan. 23:

8 p.m.: "American Idol" (Time Period Premiere)

9 p.m.: "Rake" (Series Premiere, Night Two / Time Period Premiere)

Note: "Glee" returns in spring 2014.

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What Happened in 1986 That May Have Ruined TV?

The ripple effect from something that took place in the late 1980s is still being felt by the television industry, writes Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker.

Collins says a question TV viewers frequently ask is, “Why does the TV business hate people over 50?" It’s a good question, he adds.

“The TV industry, like much of corporate America, chases youth. That pursuit has a major impact on programming. It helps explain why a low-rated show such as NBC's ‘Community’ can keep going (and going, and going ...) while older-skewing shows are usually toast,” Collins writes.

That explains why “Harry’s Law,” which starred 60-something Kathy Bates, isn’t on the air any longer.

The shift happened in the late 1980s, when Nielsen started using “people meters,” which allowed for demographic information such as age and gender.

“The effect on TV programming was dramatic," Collins writes. "In 1986, right before people meters were introduced, the No. 1 series on TV was ‘The Cosby Show’ -- the very definition of a family-friendly, mass-appeal sitcom. Ten years later, though, families had been virtually banished from TV. The top comedies were all about single young adults seeking sex and romance: ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘Friends,’ ‘Suddenly Susan.’”

But change may be afoot, Collins notes. While the total audience for broadcasters is up, those viewers are older and grayer.

“Young people have already checked out, cut the cord, retreated to Netflix, logged on to Instagram. That's left their parents and grandparents watching the flat screen in the living room,” Collins writes.

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GOP Party Official Resigns Under Pressure After Racially Charged Interview on 'The Daily Show' -- Here's the Interview

A North Carolina Republican precinct chairman and GOP Executive Committee member resigned from his position with the party following an interview with “The Daily Show's" Aasif Mandvi in which he made some racially charged comments, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

Don Yelton complained during the interview about “lazy black people that wants the government to give them everything." He also admitted that he has been called a bigot, but added that one of his best friends is black, the story says.

Yelton was asked to resign, according to WRAL. Buncombe County Republican Party Chairman Henry Mitchell described Yelton’s comments as “offensive, uninformed and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party."

“Let me make it very clear: Mr. Yelton's comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe Republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon," Mitchell said in a statement.

During the “Daily Show” interview, Yelton defended the state’s voter ID law, saying that it wasn’t meant to hurt black people but instead is intended to hamper the Democrats.

THR adds: “Yelton also noted that while Mandvi, who is Indian-American, looks different than he does, he treated the ‘Daily Show’ correspondent just like anyone else.”

Mandvi, at one point in the interview, asked Yelton, “You realize we can hear you?”

Here's a video of the "Daily Show" segment featuring the interview with Yelton:

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Video: James Taylor Messes Up the National Anthem at the World Series

Legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor got into immediate trouble when he began singing the National Anthem at Thursday night's Game Two of the World Series in Boston.

We won't spoil the fun -- just see for yourself:

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Report: Talk Show Host's 'Cold' Behavior Offends Audience Members -- and Viewer Numbers Are Lagging

A high-profile talk show host has reportedly been offending staffers and members of the studio audience with “standoffish” behavior. The New York Post’s Page Six reports that some audience members have complained to producers about the behavior of daytime host Bethenny Frankel.

Frankel reportedly walks in and out for taping, but otherwise avoids interacting with the studio audience and her own staff, the story says.

"Another source said Frankel’s awkward lack of interaction extends to her own staff, with some saying she 'isn’t around for the producing and planning of the shows,'" the story reports.

But another insider at the show was supportive of Frankel, saying: “There’s not a single solitary aspect of the show that Bethenny is not involved in, from every flower in her guests’ dressing room to the paint on the walls, to every single meeting.”

The show, “Bethenny,” has had soft ratings since its September debut, drawing about 1 million viewers and falling behind rival shows from Queen Latifah (1.5 million), Wendy Williams (1.7 million) and Steve Harvey (2 million).

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bethenny-frankel.jpgBethenny Frankel

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MTV Rolls Out New Binge-Viewing Strategy for Its App -- and a New Show to Get the Ball Rolling

In a move MTV is touting as the first of its kind, the cable network announced today that it has pre-released a full season of a new series exclusively on an app, Deadline.com reports.

"Viewers can watch all 12 episodes of the new docu-drama 'Wait ‘Til Next Year' via the MTV app, available on iPhone, iPad and Xbox 360 for Xbox Live Gold members in the U.S., a week before its TV premiere Friday, November 1, at 8 PM ET/PT," the story reports.

The app extends efforts by Viacom Music and Logo Group to move into distributing exclusive content via brand apps, the piece notes.

"The MTV app saw an 82% increase in install week over week, when MTV launched a 'flock-to-unlock' initiative tied to its 'Miley: The Movement' documentary in which fans banded together to tweet #UnlockMiley to access two new clips from the doc exclusively through the app," Deadline reports. "Earlier this week, MTV’s cable cousin VH1 made its biopic 'CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story' exclusively available in the newly launched VH1 app for a week following its televised premiere and encore."

"Wait ‘Til Next Year" focuses on a struggling football team. The show "follows one season on and off the football field for the Lincoln Park Railsplitters, a team that’s lost 43 consecutive games over the course of 5-year losing streak," the piece reports, letting viewers "get to know the players, cheerleaders, parents and fans who are all on a collective mission to do the one thing no one expects them to do: win."

The series is executive produced by Craig D’Entrone, Amelia D’Entrone and Sean Travis.

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Viewer Turnout for Cable Juggernaut's Finale Is Nothing to Quack About

Is the joyride over for the cable juggernaut “Duck Dynasty”? After a hot start to the fourth season, the A&E hit drew fewer viewers to its season finale than it did for the closer to the previous season, TheWrap.com reports.

The reality show drew 8.4 million total viewers for its Wednesday finale, down from the 9.6 million who watched the show’s third-season finale in April, the story adds.

“The most recent season of the A&E hit got off to a quacking good start in August, pulling in 11.8 million total viewers -- setting a cable record as the most-watched non-fiction series telecast,” the piece notes.

duck dynasty.png

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Ellen DeGeneres Sells 1930s Hollywood Drama to CW

Ellen DeGeneres has sold a 1930s period piece to the CW, with the project focusing on a young Midwestern woman who moves to Los Angeles to track down her sister’s killer, reports Deadline.com.

The project, called “Players,” is from Warner Bros. TV and DeGeneres’ studio-based A Very Good Production. DeGeneres, Danny Cannon and Jeff Kleeman will executive produce, with Cannon set to direct. Cannon is the director and executive producer of the CW’s “The Tomorrow People.”

The young woman’s sister was killed by a predatory studio chief, but as she seeks revenge, she ends up getting caught up in the Hollywood scene.

It’s the latest period drama for the CW, which currently is airing “Reign,” about a young Mary, Queen of Scots, and has bought a 1960s surf project for this development season.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ellen-degeneres.pngEllen DeGeneres

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New ABC Drama Coming From '12 Years a Slave' Writer

ABC is developing a drama written and executive produced by the writer of the film “12 Years a Slave,” John Ridley, reports Deadline.com.

The project, "American Crime," is set in the Central Valley of California and focuses on a murder with racial aspects, looking at the lives of the people impacted by the crime.

“The case takes on greater meaning in the community, bringing to the forefront America’s hardened views on race, class and gender politics,” the story notes.

Ridley is considered an Oscar contender for his script for “12 Years a Slave.”

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Dwayne Johnson -- You May Know Him as 'The Rock' -- Gets New TNT Show

TNT has greenlighted a new series that will star actor and professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

Called “Wake Up Call,” the unscripted show will track people who are facing challenges, such as deadbeat dads and struggling businesses, the story says. Johnson, who will host and executive produce the show, will try to help them turn around their lives.

The show will debut in 2014, and is part of TNT’s effort to boost its unscripted programming. TNT also aired “The Hero,” starring Johnson, this summer.

“We had a wonderful time working with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson on ‘The Hero,’ in which he challenged and mentored a group of everyday heroes," said David Eilenberg, senior vice president unscripted development for TNT and TBS.

dwayne the rock johnson.pngDwayne "The Rock" Johnson

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USA Network Renews Drama Series

USA Network will bring back one of its drama series for another season. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the cable channel renewed the legal drama “Suits” for season four, giving the show a 16-episode order.

Universal Cable Productions, which produces the drama, has also signed creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh to an overall deal, which will keep him running the show while also working on new projects.

THR notes: “In the third quarter, ‘Suits’ was one of the top five series among [the] advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and among the top 10 among adults 25-54 for prime-time scripted programming. It was also the top scripted series in its Tuesday slot in 18-49."

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Pay-Cable Net Developing Bank Robbery Drama

A 1970s bank robbery drama is in development at one of the pay-cable channels, with writer Chris Collins, director Ken Fink and author Dan Chaon working on the project for Starz, reports Deadline.com.

The project, called “Most Wanted,” is set on the Great Plains and tracks Nate Daniels, a talented bank robber who ends up on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.

“This period in American history was an incredibly rich and complex time, and we saw ‘Most Wanted’ as an opportunity to bring these stories to life,” said Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik.

Collins, an executive producer on FX's “Sons of Anarchy,” will be the showrunner and executive produce with Fink, while Chaon will co-executive produce.

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'Upstairs, Downstairs' for the New Millennium? New Amazon Project Is Part of Ambitious Push Into Drama

A new project in development at Amazon Studios is being compared to the beloved 1970s BBC series "Upstairs, Downstairs," and the project underscores the ambitiousness of the studio's push into drama development, Nellie Andreeva writes on Deadline.com.

"The digital studio has put in development 'Grand Ave,' a large-scale period drama set in 1910 Los Angeles," Andreeva writes. "Written by Ian Goldberg ('Once Upon a Time') based on a story he penned with producer Jessika Borsiczky ('House of Lies'), 'Grand Ave' chronicles the explosive, overnight transformation of L.A. from small town to iconic American city."

The report notes that the other of Amazon Studios' first two drama pilots, "The After," from "The X-Files" creator Chris Carter, is "a thriller that takes place at the moment of apocalypse."

Andreeva says of "Grand Ave": "The show revolves around a powerful, ruthless family and explores -- in an upstairs/downstairs fashion -- how the destiny of a select few coincided with a major metropolis on the verge of its grand arrival."

The project will be executive produced by Goldberg and Borsiczky, who also collaborated on ABC’s "Flash Forward."

Andreeva notes: "20th century Los Angeles is a popular drama setting this development season -- the CW has a project about 1930s Hollywood, while ABC and CW dramas explore Malibu in 1976 and 1961, respectively."

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Scooping Her Own Deadline.com, Deadline Founder and Editor in Chief Nikki Finke Tweets That She Will Soon Be Leaving the Site

After months of speculation, Nikki Finke, the founder and editor in chief of Deadline.com, has tweeted that she will soon be leaving the site, reports LA Observed.

The article notes: "On her Twitter feed, Nikki Finke has been posting [late Thursday afternoon, Oct. 24, 2013] what sounds like the beginning of a final break from Jay Penske, the investor who bought her Deadline.com site in 2009. Finke first posted this afternoon: 'With no advance warning, he pulled the Deadline news feed from my Twitter account.' Next she said that she was developing her own NikkiFinke.com and would be free soon from Penske's ownership."

Here are the three tweets Finke posted, according to the story:

1) Penske makes it official: With no advance warning, he pulled the Deadline news feed from my Twitter account. I have "too many followers."

2) I am building out http://NikkiFinke.com and will unveil it right after the new year. Can't wait to report the real truth about Hollywood.

3) All that's left is for the lawyers to disentangle me from Penske. I have no idea why he has fought so hard to keep me. I'll be free soon.

On June 2, 2013, Sharon Waxman of TheWrap, a competitor to Deadline.com, published a report saying that according to some anonymous sources, Finke had been fired from Deadline and would be leaving the site as soon as that week. TheWrap never ran a correction to that report, despite denials from Penske and the fact that Finke continues to write for Deadline four months later.

As of the publishing of this item at 6:40 am on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Finke has not sent any more tweets on the matter, and there is nothing on Deadline.com about her negotiating to leave the site.

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Whoa! Must Read -- Potential Game Changer on the Horizon: 'Did Comcast Just Take a First Step Toward Unbundling HBO?'

That's the provocative headline for a piece on the respected site Gigaom.com, which has been covering the intersection of business and technology for the past seven years.

Says the story: "Love HBO, but hate paying for expensive cable bundles? Comcast’s got a deal for you: The cable provider just started to promote a new offering dubbed “Internet Plus” that consists of internet access, HBO and local TV channels for $40 a month."

Comcast is the nation's largest multiple-system cable operator (MSO), as well as the owner of NBCUniversal.

The story is illustrated with this screenshot describing the deal -- click on the photo to enlarge it to make it easier to read:

comcast-internet-plus.jpgThe article continues: "It’s worth noting that the Internet Plus pricing is only valid for 12 months, after which the price would go up to $70 per month. There are also the typical monthly fees and charges, but no long-term contract."

The story also notes: "Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, whose company owns HBO, recently brought up the idea of bundling HBO with broadband plans, calling it 'an offer you can’t refuse.' Now we know what he was talking about."

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ABC Orders Crime Drama Straight to Series

ABC is jumping on the straight-to-series bandwagon, greenlighting a crime drama with an order for 10 episodes, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The show is an adaptation of "Secrets & Lies," an upcoming Australian series.

"The original 'Secrets & Lies,' which won't bow in Australia until 2014, stars Martin Henderson as a patriarch who becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a young boy when he finds the body," THR reports. "The American adaptation, which hails from ABC Studios and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, will also be produced by Australia-based Hoodlum."

ABC is already casting for the show and is searching for a showrunner, the piece notes.

"The move follows a recent spate of direct-to-series orders for the broadcast networks," THR adds. "Fox recently gave a 13-episode commitment to 'Hieroglyph,' as well as orders for an untitled comedy from Tina Fey, Matt Hubbard and Robert Carlock and 'Batman' prequel 'Gotham.'"

The piece adds: "CBS has also made two big moves, with early series orders for Vince Gilligan-David Shore cop drama 'Battle Creek' and summer sci-fi drama 'Extant' -- which recently cast Halle Berry as its lead."

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NBC News Exec Is Headed to Twitter

A top executive at NBC News has confirmed an upcoming move to Twitter to work on a news operation for the social media site. Deadline.com reports that Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and chief digital officer for NBC News, tweeted about the move.

In a tweet today, Schiller said: “Excited to join @Twitter as Head of News in January. Leaving @NBCNews at year’s end. Grateful to my beloved colleagues for 2+ great years.” The tweet confirmed speculation that had been swirling for weeks, as we reported earlier this month.

"It’s a new post for the social media behemoth and one in which she will work to further develop partnerships with old-school news-gathering outfits -- like broadcast and cable TV news operations, newspapers, NPR, etc.," Deadline reports.

The report adds: "The San Francisco-based giant had been looking for someone who could be its liaison with news-gathering operations. Schilller’s solid resume includes stints at The New York Times, NPR, CNN, NBCU and Discovery, though she resigned from NPR last March after a couple of embarrassing incidents, including the release of a video showing a staffer nicking the GOP and the Tea Party."

vivian schiller nbc.jpgVivian Schiller

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Fox's World Series Owns the Night, as Shows on All Three of the Other Major Nets Hit Historic Lows

Fox's coverage of the World Series got off to a strong ratings start Wednesday night, as each of the other big four broadcast networks had its share of difficulties, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Game 1 of the Series, pitting the Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals, delivered a preliminary 4.1 average rating from 8-10 p.m., well above last year's preliminary 3.2 average for Game 1 between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants.

The baseball game was the highest-rated program in broadcast prime, and Fox easily won the night. Meanwhile, series lows and season lows were the order of the night on the other broadcast networks, as ABC, CBS and NBC all had shows coming in at historic lows.

Second-place CBS saw "Survivor" lose three-tenths from a week ago to turn in a 2.3 average in the 18-49 demo, its lowest number ever, excluding recaps and specials. "Criminal Minds" matched last week's 2.7 average, and "CSI" ticked up one-tenth to a 2.1.

ABC had the top broadcast show of the night outside of baseball, in "Modern Family," which settled for a season-low 3.8 average in viewers 18-49, falling three-tenths from last week. "Back in the Game" sank to a series low, falling two-tenths from a week ago to a 1.7. "The Middle" had a season low, slipping one-tenth to a 2.1, while "Super Fun Night" managed to inch up one-tenth to a 2.2 and "Nashville" matched last week's 1.6.

NBC found itself in fifth place overall behind Univision, with "Revolution" equaling last week's series low, a 1.4 average in the 18-49 demo. "Law & Order: SVU" plunged four-tenths of a point to a season-low 1.4, and the canceled freshman drama "Ironside" lost two-tenths to record a 0.8.

For prime time overall, Fox's 4.1 average in adults 18-49 was easily the best number, followed by CBS (2.4 average), ABC (2.2), Univision (1.3) and NBC (1.2). Fox also led total viewers, averaging 13.7 million to top CBS (10.4 million), ABC (7.0 million), NBC (4.8 million) and Univision (3.2 million).

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YouTube to Launch Music-Video Subscription Service

YouTube is readying a music-video subscription service as the popular video site aims to add a revenue stream to complement its advertising, USA Today reports.

"The new service, which may launch later this year or early next, will cost $10 a month, according to a person familiar with the plan. The person did not want to be identified because the offering has not been released publicly yet," the story reports.

The story adds: "The service will come out first on mobile devices and it will let subscribers add music videos to their phones to watch and listen to even if they don't have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection, the person explained. YouTube already previewed this offline capability last month in a blog."

YouTube is a division of Google. The move is seen as competition for Spotify and Pandora Media, "which have revolutionized music consumption through subscription services that run mostly through smartphones," the report notes.

The new service would not add limits to the material that is already offered for free on YouTube, the piece notes. "Instead, there will be a free version and a premium one," USA Today reports. "The premium service will offer the ability to view videos offline and also remove ads, the person explained."

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'Smash' Actress Caught Kissing Director -- Who Gets Kicked Out of the House by His Wife

A series of photos that surfaced in the past week revealing a kiss between "Smash" star Katharine McPhee and married director Michael Morris have had a ripple effect, the New York Post's Page Six reports.

McPhee was "blindsided" by the photos, the report says, citing friends of McPhee. Morris, meanwhile, reportedly got word the pics were coming out and admitted the affair to his wife.

"Morris -- who’s been married to 'In Plain Sight' actress Mary McCormack for 10 years -- warned his wife that the kissy pics were coming out, and ... McCormack then threw Morris out of their L.A. home on Sunday night as a result," the story reports. "But friends of McPhee’s say she only learned of the pics that showed her and Morris in a romantic lip-lock when they hit the Web on Monday.

The report quotes a source close to McPhee saying: “Katharine didn’t know about the photos in advance. She only saw them on Monday when they were emailed to her.”

The report adds: "McPhee, 29, and her husband, Nick Cokas, 47, have been married since 2008, but have reportedly been amicably separated for months. Meanwhile, McCormack, who has three kids with Morris, now reportedly wants to end their marriage over the dalliance."

A source reportedly told the magazine Life & Style: "He wants to keep the family together, but as far as Mary is concerned, it’s over. There’s no going back.”

The source also is quoted saying: “Mary only found out this week about the affair after [Morris] confessed everything to her. She had no idea anything had been going on. The last thing she ever thought was that he was seeing another woman.”

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Freeze Frame: Remake of Classic CBS Series Gets Put-Pilot Deal at NBC and Will Star Oscar Winner in First Regular TV Series Role

"NBC is looking to revive one of the most successful series in TV history," writes our friend Nellie Andeeva in an exclusive story for Deadline.com.

The show is  "Murder, She Wrote."

Andreeva continues, noting that the reboot is being made "with a brand new take from writer Alexandra Cunningham and producer David Janollari that has Oscar winner Octavia Spencer ['The Help'] succeeding Angela Lansbury in the lead role of an astute amateur detective. The new hourlong project, which has received a put pilot comitment, is a re-imagining of of the long-running CBS series."

angela lansbury.pngAngela Lansbury

Of the original series Andreeva writes,"Created by Richard Levinson, William Link and Peter S. Fischer, the original 'Murder, She Wrote' starred Lansbury in her record 12-time-Emmy-nominated role as Jessica (J.B.) Fletcher, a middle-aged, widowed successful murder-mystery writer who solves real murders in her spare time. The series premiered in 1984, ran for 12 seasons and spawned four follow-up TV movies as well as a spinoff series, 'The Law & Harry McGraw.' Like other reboots, including CBS’s 'Hawaii Five-0' and TNT’s 'Dallas,' the new 'Murder, She Wrote' will likely keep the popular theme music of the original series, which won an Emmy for composer John Addison, giving it a 21st century makeover."

To read more details about the reboot, please click on the link above, which takes you to Andreeva's original piece.

octavia spencer.jpgOctavia Spencer

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Liberal Pundit Parts Ways With Fox News, Bolts to Rival Cable Channel

Fox News Channel has lost one of its most high-profile liberal voices. The conservative-leaning cable channel parted ways this week with Sally Kohn, who left the network and jumped to rival MSNBC, reports Elizabeth Jensen in The New York Times.

"MSNBC wasted no time booking her Tuesday evening to discuss a commentary she had written for the FoxNews.com site, 'I was an ObamaCare Guinea Pig,'" Jensen writes.

Kohn, 36, declined to comment, while Fox News described the transition as "a gracious and amicable parting." Her contract had ended with the network last year, the piece adds.

"Even so, Ms. Kohn had continued to appear exclusively on the channel until Tuesday, when she dropped the words 'Fox News Contributor' from the biography on her personal website," the story notes.

sally kohn.pngSally Kohn

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Real-World Scandal for ABC's 'Scandal': High-Profile Fan Blogger Exposed as ABC Staffer

"Scandal" fans are scandalized by the revelation that a top fan blogger of the ABC drama series is actually an employee of the network, reports TheWrap.com.

The Twitter account "Scandal411" has drawn more than 26,000 followers and became one of the most influential outlets for discussion of the show, the story says. But behind the Twitter handle is reportedly Courtney Pajor, a director of special sales for ABC, the article says, citing two sources familiar with the blogger's identity.

"TheWrap is also in possession of documents that link Pajor to the Scandal411 Twitter account, though the individual who provided them asked to remain anonymous," TheWrap notes.

Pajor didn't respond to TheWrap's request for comment. Meanwhile, the Twitter handle was changed to @GrantForPrez, and a website for Scandal411 was made private, according to the story.

ABC told the publication, "We take these allegations very seriously. We are investigating the situation and will handle accordingly.”

The story adds: "Show bloggers and fans have said that Pajor has crossed the line in her exchanges with fans and journalists who don’t share her opinions. The accusations range from incidents as minor as calling other fans 'crazy' and tweeting 'F-CK YOU ATAS' when 'Scandal' star Kerry Washington didn’t win the Best Actress Emmy in September to attacking journalists, including TheWrap, all unbecoming behavior for an employee of the network."


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Sean Hayes Explains Why His New Series Is Flopping -- and It May Not Sit Well With NBC

Former "Will & Grace" star Sean Hayes, whose new NBC comedy series "Sean Saves the World" is struggling to find an audience, has a theory about why his show isn't pulling viewers. TheTVPage reports that Hayes puts the blame on NBC.

The comedy, which averages about 3.4 million viewers, isn't likely to make it to a second season, the story notes. But Hayes told the publication he thinks the show is "working."

He added, "It’s just the struggle of the elephant in the room, which is, ‘How do you get viewers to NBC?’ NBC programs great shows, it just doesn’t have the eyeballs CBS does.”

He also insisted that he and executives at NBC are "confident" about the comedy, which stars Hayes as a divorced, gay dad who is raising his teenage daughter.

“Even if I wasn’t on the show, it’d be the funniest sitcom, to me, on the air right now,” he told the publication. “I watch it and go, ‘Well, this is really f--king funny.’ I wouldn’t change anything right now, I think it’s all working.”


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After 'Sons of Anarchy' Star's Exit, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Snags Another TV Star for Lead Role

A high-profile movie project that has been described as "mommy porn" has found its male lead. Variety reports that the Universal and Focus movie adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Grey" cast Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan in the role.

Dornan, who will play Christian Grey in the movie, replaces "Sons of Anarchy" star Charlie Hunnam, who had the part locked up before dropping out, as we reported earlier this month.

"Dornan plays Sheriff Graham Humbert in ABC series 'Once Upon a Time'; he’s also played a serial killer in BBC Two crime drama 'The Fall,' and he appeared in Sofia Coppola’s 'Marie Antoinette,'" Variety reports. "The 31-year-old thesp performs in an Irish folk duo and has modeled for Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and Armani. His modeling experience may be useful, as the part will require him to act in explicitly sexual scenes."

Sam Taylor-Johnson is signed to direct, with Dakota Johnson co-starring as Anastasia Steele.

The Variety report notes: "The project was hit with a huge curveball when Hunnam departed after being attached for just a month. Universal said Hunnam’s exit was due to scheduling issues with 'Sons of Anarchy' and upcoming movie 'Crimson Peak,' but some sources said battles over a rewrite and the actor’s doubts about the role may have played a part in his decision."

The executives behind the feature reportedly brought in Dornan and actor Billy Magnussen for a test with Johnson on Friday. "Though the studio considered bringing in more actors to test, as of Wednesday morning sources said no one else had been brought in," Variety reports. "Universal will now work quickly to land thesps for the remaining supporting roles that include Steele’s roommate Kate, a role for which [Universal] had already been testing actresses prior to Hunnam’s exit."

The movie is scheduled to hit theaters Aug. 1, 2014, the report notes.

jamie dornan.jpgJamie Dornan

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TV and Radio Personality -- a Fixture of the New York Sports Scene for Decades -- Dead at 92

A New York-based sportscaster who pioneered radio's sports talk format and co-hosted "Sports Extra" on WNEW-TV has died. The New York Times reports that Bill Mazer died Wednesday at 92.

Mazer was nicknamed "the Amazin'" because of his deep knowledge of sports facts and figures, the story notes. On his retirement in 2009, he had more than six decades of broadcasting under his belt.

While growing up, Mazer played punchball, but also attended a yeshiva and considered becoming a rabbi. He decided on sports after realizing “I was paying more attention to Van Lingle Mungo than I was to Moses," he said, referring to a Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher of the 1930s.

Mazer covered sports in Buffalo for 16 years, and then was hired by WNBC-AM to create a talk format in 1964, allowing fans to call in and talk sports with him. He went on to host an interview program on WOR-AM and to provide commentary for the CBS hockey game of the week. He also provided commentary for the Knicks, the Nets, the Rangers and the Islanders, the story reports.

He spent 20 years at WNEW-TV in New York, starting in the early 1970s, helping to establish "Sports Extra" -- considered to be the first sports wrap-up show of its kind. He also reported sports on WNEW's "10 O'Clock News."

The piece adds: "It was the news anchor John Roland who proclaimed Mr. Mazer the Amazin’ after Mr. Roland started tossing him arcane sports questions during the broadcasts, and Mr. Mazer almost invariably knew the answers."

bill mazer.JPGBill Mazer

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'Baywatch' With a Brain? Show About 'Gorgeous Beaches, Girls in Bikinis and Hot Shirtless Guys' Headed to Broadcast TV

A new period drama is in the works that promises not just pretty scenery, but also "big ideas." The project is a 1960s Malibu surf drama from former "90210" showrunner Rebecca Sinclair.

Deadline.com reports that Sinclair has teamed with Carol Mendelsohn Productions on the project, which was bought by the CW.

The untitled project, described as "darkly comedic," will look at surf culture in Southern California, as well as the social changes rippling through America during the decade. Sinclair will write, executive produce and run the project.

"We wanted to tell a different kind of story about the ’60s, one that explored the real events that led to the birth of California’s surf culture,” Carol Mendelsohn said.

Sinclair added: "There’s a Trojan horse element to this show: We’ll lure the audience in with gorgeous beaches, girls in bikinis and hot shirtless guys but then leave them grappling with big ideas.”

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TV Audiences Are Gray and Getting Grayer; Here Are the Latest Numbers -- and the Oldest Show on Broadcast Prime

While broadcasters continue to lose viewers, that's not their only problem. The viewers they do have are getting older, reports MediaLife.

The audience of the big four broadcasters is older than ever, with a median age of 53.9 years, the story says, citing data from Nielsen that was analyzed by Horizon Media.

That's 0.6 years older than at this point in 2012, the story notes.

"Fox remains the youngest network with a median age of 49.6. That’s the closest it’s ever been to 50, and it’s up 2.4 years from last fall, the second-biggest jump for any network," the article reports. "Some of the gain is due to the higher median age for this year’s League Championship Series, which rose from 54.6 last year to 55 this year."

The oldest network is CBS, which has a median age of 58.2, up from 57.9 a year earlier. It also has six of the seven oldest-skewing shows on network TV, with "Blue Bloods" -- starring 68-year-old Tom Selleck -- scoring as the oldest with a median age of 62.8 years.

The largest age increase over last year was posted by NBC. "NBC is the second-youngest network with a median age of 50.6, up 2.7 from last year," the story reports. "That reflects in part the cancellation of 'The Office,' the network’s youngest-skewing show last year with a median age of 38.1."

One network saw its median age fall. ABC came in as the second-oldest network with a median of 54 years -- down from 55.2 a year ago.

The oldest-skewing new show of the fall season was "Ironside," coming in with a median of 58.9. The drama reboot, which starred Blair Underwood (age 49), was canceled by NBC after three episodes.

blue bloods.jpg

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Why VH1 Shut Down the 'Basketball Wives' Reunion Show

VH1 pulled the plug on the reunion show for "Basketball Wives," which was supposed to be a wrap-up program for the show's fifth season. TMZ.com reports that the show was shut down after cast member Evelyn Lozada backed out.

The program was slated to tape earlier this month, but because Lozada pulled out, the producers decided to cancel the project, the piece reports.

"According to sources, Evelyn jumped ship because she's sick and tired of talking about her split from ex-husband Chad Johnson," the story reports. "We're told she knew the break-up would be the biggest topic on the reunion show, so she refused to participate."

A spinoff show focused on Lozada and Johnson, "Ev and Ocho," was previously in the works but never made it to air, hitting a snag when Johnson, a veteran wide receiver in the NFL, was arrested on a domestic violence charge in August 2012 after allegedly assaulting Lozada.

VH1 didn't return calls, TMZ notes.

evelyn lozada.jpgEvelyn Lozada

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The Joke's on Them: 'Mindy Project' Showrunner Tweets Notes From Fox's 'Decency Police'

Matt Warburton, showrunner on Fox's "The Mindy Project," tweeted notes from the network asking that some substitutions be made, such as "Please substitute for Peter's 'balls' reference," Lisa de Moraes reports on Deadline.com.

"In the Twitter post, he took a photo of the memo and added, '"The Mindy Project" is a classy show for grown ups', like he meant it to sting," de Moraes writes. "And yet, ask someone attached to the show’s production or broadcast why it’s still on the air with the numbers it’s getting these days and you probably ARE going to get an earful of '“Mindy" is a very upscale show, with a 142 index in the demo in $100K+ homes, ranking No. 9 among major broadcast network shows in this category, and the highest indexing of any Fox entertainment series.'”

She adds: "Still, you can’t help but feel for Warburton. His series is getting clobbered by NBC’s 'The Voice' in its time slot (last season NBC had little-watched comedies 'Go On' and 'The New Normal' in the second hour of prime time on the night)."

Here's the note:


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Keenen Ivory Wayans Project Lands at ABC

ABC has bought a comedy project from Keenen Ivory Wayans in what The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed calls a "competitive situation."

The project, which received an order for a pilot script with a significant penalty, is about "the whitest guy in America," who marries into a large African-American family, the story says.

Wayans will write and executive produce the project, although he isn't slated to star. The project is produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment, with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope also executive producing.

keenen ivory wayans.pngKeenen Ivory Wayans

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CBS Adapting a Crime Drama From ... Austria?

CBS is working with Jamie Tarses' Fanfare on a crime drama based an an Austrian series called "Fast Forward," reports Deadline.com.

The project will be written by Wendy Battles, the co-executive producer of "Unforgettable," who will also executive produce with Tarses and the original series' producers, the piece notes.

The project, from CBS TV Studios, is about a female homicide detective who must work with her ex-husband, a medical examiner.

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Fox Stations Renew 'TMZ Live'

The live-chat and celebrity news program "TMZ Live" has been renewed by Fox Television Stations through the 2016-17 season, B&C reports.

"This deal to extend 'TMZ Live' on the Fox Stations is the culmination of an extremely successful strategic rollout," said Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution President Ken Werner in a statement. "'TMZ Live' has emerged as a top-ranked talk show in the Fox markets among both women 25-54 and adults 25-54 and has proven its versatility, pairing successfully with other talk shows, news, magazines and court shows.”

"TMZ Live" began online on TMZ.com and as a live streaming webcast on UStream, the story notes. It branched out to broadcast with a test in March 2012 on Fox's KTTV-TV in Los Angeles.

The show features Harvey Levin along with a number of TMZ staffers, including Levin's left-hand man, Charles Latibeaudiere.

tmz live.jpg

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Two More ABC Shows Sink, Notch Historic Lows

One night after its entire Monday prime-time lineup sank to season lows, as we reported yesterday, ABC's Tuesday night lineup struggled to find viewers, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." dipped to a series low Tuesday night, tumbling two-tenths of a point from a week earlier to a 2.6 average in 18-49, while "Trophy Wife" slipped one-tenth to a 1.2, also a series low. Meanwhile, "The Goldbergs" rose one-tenth from its series low a week ago to record a 1.7.

The Alphabet Network finished third for prime time overall, just ahead of Fox and well off the pace set by NBC and CBS.

NBC claimed a narrow victory over CBS for prime time, even as "Chicago Fire" equaled last week's season low with a 2.1 average in viewers 18-49 while "The Biggest Loser" fell three-tenths to a 2.0. Driving the NBC ratings win was "The Voice," which equaled last week's 4.0 average to finish as the top broadcast show of the night.

CBS's drama lineup showed its consistency, with both "NCIS: Los Angeles" (2.6 average in 18-49) and "Person of Interest" (2.2) equaling last week's numbers, while "NCIS" slipped one-tenth to a 3.0.

Fox trailed the other big four broadcast nets, with "Dads" slipping one-tenth from a week ago to a 1.4 average in adults 18-49, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" ticking up one-tenth to a 1.6, and both "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" equaling last week's numbers -- a 1.8 for "Girl" and a 1.4 for "Mindy."

For prime time overall, NBC came out on top with a 2.7 average in 18-49, followed by CBS (2.6 average), ABC (1.7), Fox (1.5) and Univision (1.3). CBS claimed a huge lead in total viewers, averaging 15.5 million to top NBC (9.0 million), ABC (5.1 million), Fox (3.5 million) and Univision (3.4 million).

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'Duck Dynasty'-Themed Scarecrow Stolen and Burned

A scarecrow featuring a "Duck Dynasty" character was stolen and burned, WSBTV.com reports. The incident took place in the city of Ball Ground in Cherokee County, Ga.

"Police in Cherokee County offered a $1,000 reward in their search for a stolen scarecrow only to find out it had been burned by a teenager," the story reports. "The scarecrow modeled after Uncle Si, a character on the popular TV show 'Duck Dynasty,' was part of a series of scarecrows that dot the city of Ball Ground."

Students at Ball Ground Elementary, along with their parents, created the scarecrows as a fundraiser.

"Police Chief Byron Reeves told Channel 2's Tom Regan police received a tip and found the charred remains of the Uncle Si scarecrow outside the city limits," the story reports. "A 16-year-old confessed to stealing the scarecrow, police said."

Chief Reeves said: "Someone called in a tip and said they'd seen it on a porch outside the city. He admitted that he did take it on his way home one night, and he burned it because he got afraid of the media attention and what it got on social media."

The report notes: "The 'Duck Dynasty' scarecrow was one of 20 on display in a contest to raise money for the science, technology, engineering and math programs at the school."

The teenager reportedly expressed remorse and has been charged with theft.

duck dynasty scarecrow.jpgUncle Si scarecrow

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Why TV Networks Are Rethinking the Pilot Process

A shift is taking place in broadcast television, with networks increasingly rejecting the traditional pilot process in favor of direct-to-series orders, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"On Oct. 17, Fox said it would bypass the pilot stage with a 13-episode commitment for 'Hieroglyph,' a fantastical drama from 'Pacific Rim' writer Travis Beacham," the report notes. "The project, which centers on a notorious thief plucked from prison to serve the Pharaoh, became the latest in a string of straight-to-series orders. Fox already has made series bets on Tina Fey, Matt Hubbard and Robert Carlock's untitled women's college comedy and the 'Batman' prequel 'Gotham,' while CBS is going the series route with the summer sci-fi drama 'Extant' as well as its Vince Gilligan-David Shore cop drama 'Battle Creek.'"

One reason for the shift: "the influx of TV competitors, from Netflix to WGN America, that are elbowing their way into the game by offering massive commitments," THR reports.

One network source said of the latest broadcast orders: "A lot of this is about getting people to come to us over cable."

Another source said the game changer was Netflix's 26-episode order for "House of Cards."

Said 20th Century Fox TV Chairman Gary Newman: "As networks are trying to figure out how to compete with basic cable, premium cable and productions for digital platforms, what everyone realizes is, they have to be bold and not shy away from big ideas." Newman noted that the pilot model may not accommodate those big ideas.

THR adds: "Take 'Hieroglyph,' whose ancient Egypt setting would make little economic sense if costs couldn't be amortized over multiple episodes. Or 'Extant,' which wouldn't have lured Halle Berry to star had it not received an on-air commitment."

The piece quotes an insider saying: "These high-level actors are not interested in being in a failed pilot."

"There are other reasons at play, too," THR adds. "Fox Entertainment Chair Kevin Reilly has explained that his moves are a way to 'unwind' his network off the antiquated pilot cycle -- a 'silly system,' as he put it in a recent interview with THR. Fox spends as much as $4 million a pop to license each pilot, many of which viewers never see. The straight-to-series strategy allows networks and studios to have a product that they can exploit immediately on air and in the international marketplace."

But the pilot system still has its place, the report notes.

"For every direct-to-series success like CBS's 'Under the Dome,' there's a pricey flop like NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show,'" THR notes. "To land the latter, NBC committed to airing 22 episodes, and ratings have been low. Reilly noted that a pilot still can serve as a helpful test -- or a hedge, when talented people go off track."

Added Newman: "From a network perspective, [direct-to-series] is a far riskier way to go, which is why you won't see a wholesale change in this direction. But when you have the right property and the right talent involved, you're going to see networks do this both to win projects from other networks and to make projects that at another time maybe weren't possible because they were too big."

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'Anthony Weiner Week' Has Rival Broadcast Nets Ripping Story Lines From the Same Headlines

In what one report calls "Anthony Weiner Week," two broadcast drama series are airing episodes this week that bear a resemblance to the case of the New York congressman who fell from grace over embarrassing "selfies."

"Two prime-time drama series announced they will air competing Weiner-esque storylines, political scientists have navel-lint gazed in press reports about the phenomenon, and The Reporters Who Cover Television are poised to break the news first, in re which Weiner Week episode played best with viewers in key demographic groups," Lisa de Moraes writes on Deadline.com, declaring: "It’s Anthony Weiner Week on broadcast TV!"

NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" gets the ball rolling tonight, the report notes. "The long-running 'Law & Order: SVU' has done an episode about a guy running for New York mayor who is accused of sending naughty photos online to a 15-year-old female, using the name Enrique Trouble," de Moraes writes, adding that the "Law & Order" franchise "wrote the book on headline off-ripping."

She notes that a "relative newcomer" to ripped-from-the-headlines plots, ABC's "Scandal," will also take a shot at the Weiner phenomenon this week. "Tomorrow night, that prime-time soap sees heroine/POTUS mistress Olivia Pope working with a sexting senator, who may be a murder suspect," the story reports.

The piece adds: "Of course, both storylines are far worse than the reality of Weiner’s life, though his life isn’t over yet -- only his political one. In real life, Weiner resigned apologetically from Congress when illustrated sexting reports hit the media, after which he launched a bid to become mayor of NYC, which was derailed by more reports of continued sexting -- mostly by his funny sexting pseudonym Carlos Danger."

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TV Actress Fires Back at Internet Bullies

A television actress went on a bit of a Twitter tirade Tuesday, firing back at criticism she received online on a number of topics. The Huffington Post reports that Danielle Fishel, known for her role as Topanga on the 1990s ABC comedy "Boy Meets World," let 'em have it on topics including her weight and her marriage, which took place over the weekend.

"This weekend, the 'Boy Meets World' star made headlines when she married her boyfriend of nearly five years, Tim Belusko, 25, on Saturday in L.A. But, apparently, some attempted to sully her wedded bliss. Fishel became the target of online bullies dishing out unwarranted hate about her weight and her relationship," the story reports, adding: "On Tuesday, the 32-year-old actress took to Twitter and slammed the critics."

One tweet from the actress says: "People are giving me shit for marrying someone younger than I am. Tim is mature, responsible, loving, & kind. Way to judge people, Internet."

Another Fishel tweet tackles the weight issue: "Ppl saying I was FAT @ my wedding: u r the worst kind of ppl on the PLANET. I weigh 107 pounds & am 5'1". YOU are the reason anorexia exists"

She elaborates in a tweet issued a minute later: "I hope you'll look at your own miserable lives and learn to stop judging others on their weight and looks. Love and happiness wins again."

The report adds this comment: "Internet bullies, do not mess with Danielle Fishel."

Fishel is working on the "Boy Meets World" spinoff "Girl Meets World," due in 2014 on Disney Channel.

danielle fishel.jpgDanielle Fishel

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Did ABC Blow It by Canceling Series? Now the Network May Revive the Show

ABC may have some regrets about canceling a series, and is reportedly considering bringing it back. Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva reports that the network may try to revive the crime drama "Body of Proof."

A decision is expected within the next month on whether the show will return at midseason, Andreeva reports, noting that the decision will take into account how many new ABC series will stay on the air beyond fall.

"As 'Body of Proof'’s' cast, writers and crew have all moved on following the May cancellation (showrunner Evan Katz is executive producing Fox’s '24: Live Another Day'), there is a lot of work to be done to re-assemble a team and bring back star Dana Delany to be able to get the show up and running for midseason," Andreeva writes.

The show's original cancellation was a "head-scratcher," she adds.

The drama had improved its ratings in the second half of its most recent run, meaning that the network shut down a series with an average audience of 11 million viewers. That was the third-largest audience for an ABC drama series last season, the story points out.

Andreeva writes: "Additionally, 'Body of Proof' had won the California tax credit lottery, helping keep its production costs manageable. With the cancellation, those incentives are now gone, so the producers must figure out another way to make the series financially appealing," such as moving production to another state.

"But most of all, the cancellation deprived ABC of a reliable drama backup, which would’ve come in handy when 'Lucky 7' fizzled in 'Body of Proof'‘s' Tuesday 10 p.m. slot," she adds.

body of proof banner.jpg

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Oscar-Winning Actress Plans to Bail Out on 'American Horror Story'

A two-time Academy Award winner appears to have had enough of FX's "American Horror Story." Buzzfeed reports that actress Jessica Lange says the fourth season of the drama will be her last.

The drama, which is currently in its third season, now stars Lange as Fiona Goode, the strongest witch in her generation.

“I’ll do one more season,” Lange told the publication. "That'll be it."

But the article mentions another interview with "American Horror Story" co-creator Ryan Murphy, who said, "Every year, she says, 'OK, that's my last one.'"

Lange, who won Oscars for "Tootsie" in 1983 and "Blue Sky" in 1995, said the current season of the show, "American Horror Story: Coven," is lighter than the previous season, which was called "American Horror Story: Asylum."

"But I think this season was a deliberate attempt to lighten it and add some humor. And I’m not against humor; my sensibilities just always tend toward the more tragic or the darker," Lange said.

Separately, the show is shaping up to be a huge ratings success for FX, with both episodes of the latest season ranking in the network's top three telecasts ever, before even Live+Seven data is available, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

jessica lange 2.pngJessica Lange

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Failed Pilots Have a New Place to Go to Die

It used to be that failed pilots were shuffled off to die alone, but that's not the case any longer, writes Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com.

The new fate of failed pilots seems to be to die online. Two failed pilots have been put on the Internet in the past two weeks, including a 2012 pilot called "Susan 313," starring Sarah Silverman.

Based on the comedian's life, the pilot is about a woman who moves back into her old apartment after her long-term relationship ends. The half-hour comedy is posted on Jash.com and also appears on YouTube ... and you can watch it below.

The other pilot is "Super Clyde," from Greg Garcia. The project followed a shy comic book fan who inherits money and turns himself into a superhero. "Super Clyde" is available on CBS.com and also appears on other online video sites, and can be seen below.

"Susan 313" ...

"Super Clyde" ...

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Fur Flies Between Animal Planet and Hallmark Channel After 'Kitten Bowl' Plans Surface

A bit of a catfight has broken out between Hallmark Channel and Animal Planet after Hallmark announced that it will counterprogram Animal Planet's Super Bowl counterprogramming during the upcoming NFL title game, as we announced Tuesday. But the fight appears to be mostly playful, at this point.

TheWrap.com reports that Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl" will return for its 10th installment in February, but this year it will face competition from Hallmark's "Kitten Bowl," which will roll out three hours earlier, bowing at noon ET on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. "Kitten Bowl" will run on "a long repetitive loop," TheWrap notes.

The report says Animal Planet, which airs the "Puppy Bowl" during halftime of the Super Bowl, called Hallmark Channel's planned "Kitten Bowl" a "copy cat."

“With the record-breaking success of Animal Planet’s ‘Puppy Bowl,’ our famous Kitty Half-Time Show and the huge viewership for our live Kitten Cam, we’re not surprised by a ‘copy cat,’” a representative for Animal Planet told the publication. "After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

A spokesperson for Hallmark Channel told TheWrap: “We thought kittens should have their day. ‘Kitten Bowl’ is part of the network’s animal advocacy campaign, Pet Project, which is designed to shine a spotlight on and make a difference in this country’s epidemic of pet homelessness, while celebrating the many gifts pets bring to our lives every day. The kitties participating in ‘Kitten Bowl’ will be adopted to loving families … making puppies and kittens, alike, winners on Super Bowl Sunday.”

TheWrap adds: "The claws may be coming out a little bit, but puns-ahead Animal Planet is playing nice, at least publicly." The network's rep told the publication: “We’re just happy that pet adoption is being promoted and more animals are finding their fur-ever homes."

puppy bowl.JPG"Puppy Bowl"

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Showtime Renews Two Series

Showtime is picking up new seasons of two drama series, with both shows qualifying as hits for the pay-cable channel. The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that Showtime ordered a fourth season of "Homeland" and a second season of "Masters of Sex."

"Homeland" will return for season four in 2014, with 12 episodes. The drama is Showtime's top-rated series, drawing about 6.5 million viewers each week so far in its current third season.

"'Homeland' continues to prove its strength for Showtime. ... It has grown its audience significantly in each of its three seasons," Showtime President David Nevins said. “The critical and audience reaction to 'Masters of Sex' since its great launch has been incredibly gratifying.”

"Masters of Sex" will also return in 2014 with 12 episodes. The drama, about the sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, has been averaging 5.4 million weekly viewers in its freshman season.

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PBS Takes Wraps Off 'Sherlock' Premiere, Plans to Pair the Series With Another Hit Show

PBS has unveiled plans for the new season of "Sherlock," which will be paired with another PBS hit, the Minneapolis StarTribune reports.

"'Sherlock,' starring Benedict Cumberbatch, will return to public TV in January, keeping company on Sunday nights with the 'Downton Abbey' crowd," the story reports. "Season three of the modern Sherlock Holmes mystery series will begin Jan. 19, PBS said Wednesday. It was previously announced that the fourth season of 'Downton' will begin Jan 5."

The report adds: "The scheduling reflects PBS's new strategy of pairing dramas on Sunday, part of a broader effort to build 'flow within a given night in our schedule,' said Beth Hoppe, PBS's chief programming executive."

"Sherlock" and "Downton Abbey" have been effective partners, Hoppe said. PBS saw its Sunday prime time, with programming consisting mostly of British drama series, grow viewership by 26% last season, the story notes.

Overall, PBS saw prime-time ratings climb 7% last season.

"'Downton Abbey,' the hit drama about the lives and loves of landed gentry and their servants, will be preceded by a Dec. 1 special, 'Return to Downton Abbey.' Hosted by Susan Sarandon, it will offer a look at past seasons and a peek at the one ahead," the story notes. "As in the past, the drama's new season already is in progress on Britain's ITV. PBS has resisted timing the U.S. to the U.K. airings, saying the January debut works better for its schedule -- a move that's allowed spoilers to cross the Atlantic."

But PBS is taking a different tack with BBC's "Sherlock," timing its premiere closer to its British schedule, which has not been announced yet, Hoppe noted.

"Other returning U.K. dramas include 'Call the Midwife' and 'Mr. Selfridge' starring Jeremy Piven, both debuting Sunday, March 30, and 'The Bletchley Circle' on April 13," the report adds.


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Rhodes Scholar Ronan Farrow Targets 'Average Joe' With New MSNBC Show

Ronan Farrow, a Rhodes scholar and Yale graduate, told the New York Post's Page Six that his new MSNBC show will be for "the average Joe at home."

“My feeling ... is that there’s a frustration in how passive the experience of receiving news can be. I think that the time is right to step in with a show that’s all about giving you, the average Joe at home, the tool set on how you can get involved," he said.

Farrow, 25, said the show won't be just for young viewers. "Whether you are literally young or young in grappling with a lot of the dark and troubling stories about our leadership ... there is a shared frustration and a shared desire to answer, ‘What do we do next?’” Farrow said.

The report adds: "Farrow, whose resume includes work for UNICEF, the Barack Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, has gotten advice from network poster girl Rachel Maddow, who he says told him, 'Phrase every question as a statement.'”

Farrow is the son of Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra, as we reported previously.

Thumbnail image for ronan farrow.pngRonan Farrow

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Former Telepictures President Lands Key Post With CBS TV Distribution

CBS Television Distribution has snagged the former president of rival Telepictures as its new president of creative affairs. B&C reports that veteran executive Hilary Estey McLoughlin has landed the job and will oversee first-run syndication programming and new series development.

Her oversight will include shows such as "Dr. Phil," "Rachael Ray" and "Judge Judy." She will report to CBS Global Distribution Group Chief Executive Armando Nunez.

Her most recent role was as president of Telepictures, which she left in July after parent Warner Bros. Television tapped Mike Darnell to run unscripted, alternative and first-run programming, the piece notes. At Telepictures, she produced and developed programs including "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and "Bethenny."

"The company’s current slate includes freshmen 'Arsenio' and 'The Test' and stalwarts 'Judge Judy,' 'Entertainment Tonight,' 'Dr. Phil,' 'Wheel of Fortune,' 'Jeopardy!' and 'Rachael Ray,'" B&C notes. "Next up is 'Serch,' a syndicated daytime hourlong talk show hosted by 1980s rapper MC Serch, which will begin a four-week test run on Tribune stations in eight markets, including New York and Los Angeles, on January 6, 2014."

hilary-estey-mcloughlin.pngHilary Estey McLoughlin

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ABC Likes What It Sees From Its New Wednesday Comedies

ABC has given additional script orders for two new fall comedies airing on Wednesday nights. The network ordered two additional scripts apiece for "Super Fun Night" and "Back in the Game," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Airing after "Modern Family," "Super Fun Night" earned some lukewarm reviews but also drew a 3.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic, the story notes. That number represents the strongest premiere retention from a lead-in from "Modern Family" in four years, the piece notes.

"Back in the Game," meanwhile, earned a 2.2 rating in the 18-49 segment. That made it ABC's lowest fall comedy debut since 2009.

"'Super Fun Night' and 'Back in the Game' join fellow freshman comedies 'Trophy Wife' and 'The Goldbergs' as having received additional script orders at the network," the story notes.

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Fox Comedy Hits Milestone in Move to Syndication

Getting ready for its syndication debut next year, a Fox comedy has reached a milestone. Deadline.com reports that "Raising Hope" has been sold in more than 180 markets, reaching 80% of the country.

The comedy will debut in the top 10 U.S. markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, the story adds.

The series had already been sold in cable syndication to FXX and CMT, and now has new clearances including stations owned by Sinclair and Lin Broadcasting.

The show's fourth season is set to premiere Nov. 15 on Fox. Twentieth Television is distributing it in syndication.

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Syfy Greenlights Reality Show 'Opposite Worlds'

Syfy has given the greenlight to the reality show "Opposite Worlds," which will air starting in January, reports Deadline.com.

Based on a Chilean show called "Mundos Opuestos," the series is about 14 people living in a house split in two: one half is futuristic, while other other is from the past. Because a glass wall separates the house, the team members can see each other while they perform in various challenges.

Viewers will be able to vote in real time, which will affect the outcome for each player, the story adds.

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'Jersey Shore' Star Is a New Dad -- and in a Fight Over Custody

One of the stars of MTV's "Jersey Shore" recently became a dad -- and he's already in a fight with his baby's mother over custody, reports TMZ.com.

Pauly DelVecchio, also known as Pauly D, has filed court documents seeking some sort of custody of his daughter, although the level is unclear. He hasn't yet seen his daughter, who was born in May, the piece reports.

The child's mother is reportedly demanding child support. While DelVecchio is said to be ready to take care of the child financially, he's reportedly concerned that the girl is being treated "like a winning lottery ticket," TMZ notes. The baby's mother recently posted a photo of the girl in a high chair covered with $100 bills, the story adds.

The report notes: "Sources connected to the baby mama and baby daddy tell TMZ ... Pauly doesn't think the woman is a fit mother -- he points to the fact that she once worked at Hooters. He's also concerned because the woman, who's only 25 years old, has another kid."

The baby's mother, who reportedly goes by Amanda, has also filed court documents in the case, TMZ notes.

The report adds: "As for how they hooked up, we're told it was one drunken night in Vegas ... but the kid isn't bringing them any closer. In fact, one source tells us they straight up hate each other."

pauly-delvecchio.jpgPauly D

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Video: Just Out -- See the Latest Trailer for 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.' Plus Check Out the New Flavor Ben & Jerry's Has Created to Tie-In with the Movie

Below you can check out the latest trailer for the upcoming Paramount feature film "Anchoman 2: The Legend Continues."

And here's the latest tie-in to the movie, according to Deadline.com: Ben & Jerry's has come up with a new flavor, Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch.

anchorman 2 ice cream.jpg

Says the story, "Named after the San Diego newsreader’s preferred adult beverage, the butterscotch-n-swirl treat is the latest cross-marketing ploy for the long-gestating sequel....You won’t get carded buying Scotchy Scotch Scotch; like rum raisin, it merely hints at booze. Let’s just hope it doesn’t have the smell of desire."

Here's the latest trailer for the movie:

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Judge Judy Creates New Court Show

"CBS Television Distribution is pitching a new court show to stations titled 'Hot Bench' for next fall. The program was created by Judge Judy Sheindlin and will be executive produced by Randy Douthit, 'Judge Judy's' current EP."

So writes our friend Paige Albiniak in an exclusive story for B&C.

The story continues, "The show will feature a panel of three making decisions on cases." The three are New York State Supreme Court Judge Patricia DiMango, Larry Bakman, a federal and state criminal attorney with offices in Los Angeles' Century City, and Tanya Acker, "a practicing attorney with a rising television career," according to the story.

The article also notes that "The show is titled 'Hot Bench' because it holds a place in Sheindlin's heart: it was the working title for Sheindlin's fledgling court show before it was officially named 'Judge Judy.' "

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Son of a Famous Actor, Who Was an Olympic Skier, TV Star and Singer of an Academy Award-Winning Hit Song, Dies at 79

He was a man of many talents. He was an Olympic skier, the star of a TV show well-remembered by baby boomers, and he sang an Academy Award-winning hit song.

Noel Harrison, the son of actor Rex Harrison, has died at age 79. According to the Los Angeles Times: "Harrison suffered a heart attack at his home in Ashburton, Devon in England after performing at the village of Black Dog in Devon." He died soon after having the heart attack on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, the newspaper says.

He starred in the NBC spy drama "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." opposite Stephanie Powers. The show was a spinoff of the hit "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and ran for only the 1966-67 season.

The Academy Award-winning hit Harrison sang was "The Windmills of Your Mind," which was the theme song from the 1968 movie "The Thomas Crown Affair" starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.

Says the Times obituary: "Harrison was a member of the British ski team and competed in the 1952 and 1956 Winter Olympics. But he soon left the slopes and began playing guitar and singing at nightclubs and bars around Europe before coming to America in 1965."

He had a minor hit on the U.S. charts that same year with "A Young Girl (of Sixteen)," notable among the pop songs of the day for its grim overtones. Harrison followed up two years later with another minor hit, a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne."

According to the paper, on Sunday Powers posted this note on Twitter: "My darling friend Noel Harrison passed last night. Let us all light a candle to speed him on his way -- he deserves to fly with the angels."

Here's a video of Harrison singing his Academy Award-winning version of the ballad "The Windmills of Your Mind." The music is by French composer Michel Legrand. The English lyrics are by Marilyn and Alan Bergman. According to Wikipedia, "The opening two melodic sentences were borrowed from Mozart's second movement from his Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra, K.364."

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CBS to Air Spruced-Up Version of One of the Most Enduring TV Shows of All Time

CBS has announced plans for a special broadcast to unveil a new take on an old TV hit -- one of the most beloved and most enduring sitcoms of all time, "I Love Lucy."

The network has set a Dec. 20 air date for the "I Love Lucy Christmas Special," a one-hour holiday program featuring two newly colorized classic episodes of the show: the rarely televised "Christmas Episode" and the all-time favorite "Lucy's Italian Movie," which includes the famous grape-stomping sequence.

The two episodes "were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed," the network said in its announcement. "The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set -- at the beginning and end of the hour -- with no interruption between the episodes."

The shows star Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, with Vivian Vance and William Frawley playing the Ricardos' friends and landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz.

The network describes "The Christmas Episode" this way: It "finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos' son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks (in black-and-white to emphasize the time lapse) recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet, and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward."

That episode aired in December 1956 and has not been included during the show's many rebroadcasts over the years. It was thought to be "lost" until CBS rediscovered it in 1989, the network said.

"'Lucy's Italian Movie' finds the Ricardos and Mertzes visiting Rome, where Lucy is invited by a famous Italian film director to appear in his next picture, 'Bitter Grapes,'" the network said. "Mistakenly thinking the film concerns the wine industry, Lucy sets out to visit a local vineyard where she soaks up more local color than intended."

The original run for "I Love Lucy" was on CBS from Oct. 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957. The series was voted "the best TV show of all time" in a poll of viewers last year by People magazine and ABC News.

lucy-grape-stomping-colorized.jpg"Lucy's Italian Movie"

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ABC Lineup Sinks to Season Lows

NBC continued to ride its workhorse reality competition "The Voice" and its new hit drama "The Blacklist" to Monday ratings success, easily winning last night's broadcast race, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo. Meanwhile, things were grim at ABC, where its prime-time lineup came in at season lows.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the Peacock Network's two-hour installment of "The Voice" was by far the top show on broadcast prime, registering a 4.2 average in viewers 18-49. This result came even as the show fell to a season low for a Monday night, losing three-tenths of a ratings point from last week. "The Blacklist" was the No. 2 show of the night with a 3.0, the same number it delivered a week ago.

Second-place CBS was paced by "How I Met Your Mother" with a 2.9 in 18-49, off two-tenths from a week ago. "Mom" surged four-tenths to a 2.4 average, "Hostages" ticked up two-tenths to a 1.4, and "2 Broke Girls" equaled the 2.6 it recorded last week, while a repeat of "The Big Bang Theory" came through with a 2.5.

Numbers for CBS are subject to more than the usual adjustments due to a football simulcast, the report notes.

ABC had a rough night, with both "Dancing with the Stars" and "Castle" at season lows. The two-hour "Dancing" fell by two-tenths from a week ago to a 1.9 in the 18-49 demo, setting a new season low, while "Castle" lost three tenths to equal its season low, also a 1.9.

Fourth-place Fox saw "Bones" inch up one-tenth of a point to a 2.1 in adults 18-49. A repeat of "Sleepy Hollow" delivered a 1.0.

For prime time overall, NBC finished well ahead of the pack in the 18-49 demo with a 3.8 average, ahead of CBS (2.2 average), ABC (1.9), Fox (1.6) and Univision (1.3). NBC claimed a narrow win in total viewers, averaging 12.5 million to top ABC (12.3 million), CBS (7.3 million), Fox (5.4 million) and Univision (3.4 million).

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Fox Hires New Head of Reality Division

Fox has filled the post of executive VP of alternative entertainment, which has been open since the departure five months ago of Mike Darnell, B&C reports. Darnell left the company after 18 years to head up unscripted and alternative for Warner Bros. TV.

The company announced it has hired Simon Andreae for the post, the story reports.

Said Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly: “This was a highly sought-after role in town, and given Fox’s legacy in groundbreaking unscripted entertainment, we were looking for a particular caliber of executive -- and we found the perfect fit in Simon. Not only is Simon known for innovative thinking, he’s a dynamic leader who has been a producer and a network executive on both sides of the pond, and he has the energy and drive to open a new chapter in Fox unscripted.”

B&C notes: "Andreae was most recently VP of production and development on the West Coast for Discovery Channel, where he oversaw development for series 'Naked and Afraid,' 'Fast N' Loud' and 'Curiosity.' He will be based in Los Angeles."

Over the summer Andreae launched the production company Scarlet Media in the U.K., the report notes.

"Prior to joining Discovery, Andreae served as president of The Incubator, which produced unscripted shows for Spike, USA, VH1, Discovery, History, Channel 4, TLC and Science, including 'Through the Wormhole,'" B&C adds.

simon andreae.jpgSimon Andreae

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Video: Betty White Spoofs Miley Cyrus

To help publicize the move of her former NBC show "Betty White's Off Their Rockers" to Lifetime, the 91-year-old TV veteran is spoofing someone more than 70 years younger than her: Miley Cyrus.

See for yourself:

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Today's Must-Read: The Coming Colossal Battle Between Netflix and the Networks

This story is written by our good friend Mike Schneider, a superb reporter who used to work for us a number of years ago, when we were known as Electronic Media. This is an expanded version of a story that first appeared in the print edition of TV Guide magazine.

By Michael Schneider, TV Guide magazine

When more than 10 million fans tuned into the series finale of "Breaking Bad" on Sept. 29, 2013, it was a stunning coda to a show that could barely muster one million viewers in its early seasons. Although AMC kept it on the air during the lean years and now gets to bask in the glory of those finale ratings, pundits and even creator Vince Gilligan have instead credited the show's success to another source: Netflix.

"I think Netflix kept us on the air," Gilligan said backstage at the Emmy Awards, after "Bad" won for outstanding drama. "I don’t think our show would have even lasted beyond Season 2. It’s a new era in television, and we’ve been very fortunate to reap the benefits."

A few days after the "Bad" farewell, ABC premiered Season 3 of guilty pleasure "Scandal" to record ratings on Oct. 3, with 10.5 million viewers. Not bad for a series that earned average ratings in its first season – and another testament to the power of delayed viewing via Netflix, as a cult fave turned into a monster hit.

According to a recent Nielsen study, 88 percent of Netflix users are binge viewing – watching three or more episodes of the same show on the same day. Netflix is even touting that utility in a series of new ads, "TV Too," reminding viewers that they can consume full seasons of shows such as "Bad" and "Scandal," as well as "Sons of Anarchy," "Once Upon a Time," "Mad Men," "The Vampire Diaries," "Parks and Recreation" and "The Walking Dead."

Clearly, audiences are changing the way they watch TV. And the TV studios are enjoying additional revenue from the streaming services that pay to license the series. "They're providing a backend value, which still enables us to afford expensive shows," says one TV exec. "It's also nice to have something out there that people can catch up on."

But some broadcast and cable network execs are concerned that they're losing brand equity in those shows, as viewers turn to Netflix instead of them in order to get a full-season fix. And because of how deals are set up, the networks behind TV's top shows are missing out on TV's big binge trend.

It's the studios that negotiate on-demand streaming video deals with Netflix and other services like Amazon and Hulu Plus, and most of those deals prevent the networks from offering more than five episodes at a time, on demand, during the season. That means viewers who want to stack and watch a full season's worth of episodes have to wait until Netflix starts airing them – and at that point, the networks are out of the picture.

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf has publicly expressed his frustration, noting at an industry conference that it doesn’t make sense for the networks to put up the money to create, 
 market and license a
show and not be al
lowed to offer it to
 viewers the way they
 want to watch it. “It’s illogical,” he said.

Networks like FX would like to be able to offer a show's full current season via video on demand, not just the last five episodes, right now. That would help bring viewers up to speed on the season already underway, while also giving a boost to the network's brand and making it more valuable to cable system operators.

"There's a tug of war going on over in-season SVOD (subscription video on-demand) rights, with the networks demanding exclusivity and the right to offer the entire season during the season," says Marc Graboff, president of Core Media Group [and the former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios]. "I think the big battleground currently is the month or so before Season 2 begins. Netflix wants that window (for the prior season) and the networks want it for themselves as well. Ultimately though, I think Netflix will have to settle for being the second window for binge viewing, one season after premiere. Unless, of course, they come in at the beginning as a co-financier and the early window is negotiated upfront with the applicable network."

Another TV exec is frustrated that non-Netflix users don't ever have a chance to binge his shows. "There are a lot of consumers that are never going to be Netflix subscribers," he says. "And so they should have the opportunity to binge view as well."

But Netflix, which wants to be the home of the binge viewer, doesn't want to pay a premium for shows that have already been binged in-season by a portion of the audience. "That they say we're not going to buy a show or take some sort of reduction from a show because it’s being stacked by a network, that seems unfair," the TV exec says. "They're not in the advertising business, they're in the subscriber business. They buy Netflix because it represents a pretty broad array of content. For us, we want to be able to, if appropriate, stack shows for the whole season because people sometimes find these shows late. They need to discover it."

What about the argument that shows aren’t worth as much to Netflix if people already binged it via a network's episodic stack? "How do they know that?" the TV exec asks. "So as long as that viewer is still a subscriber to Netflix, it doesn't make any difference. No specific show is being valued independently by Netflix. They don't tell you how people are viewing it. They're just offering a wide array of product."

That exec's message to Netflix: "Do your business but don't put any restrictions on our business. We're really two different businesses. You're in a subscription business; we're an ad business. We have to accommodate for the fact that people are watching shows differently."

Industry execs also remain frustrated that they have no way to fully gauge ratings for shows watched via Netflix or obtain consumer demographics, as the service steadfastly refuses to release any viewership data. Broadcast and cable execs also have to adjust to a new marketplace as Netflix offers attractive deals to producers and actors for original programming like "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," bypassing the pilot process and giving shows straight-to-series orders. That has flummoxed rivals, particularly at pay cable services like HBO.

Despite those gripes, the arrival of Netflix (and rivals like Amazon) is, on balance, still seen as a big boost to the TV industry, which has been experiencing viewership splintering and erosion for years. "It's given value to certain shows," says one exec. "They've been out there in the marketplace buying certain shows, that's helped the backend for profit participants. It's helped the studios continue to finance these shows as other markets have diminished what they're paying. I think there's room for both of us."

Even low-rated shows are seen as having more potential value now: Viewers may be one binge session away from the next "Breaking Bad" or "Scandal."

Please click here to read a separate story about a milestone reached this week by Netflix, and its effect on the company's stock prices.

Michael Schneider is the Los Angeles Bureau Chief of
TV Guide magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @franklinavenue

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Which New Fall Shows Are Close to Cancellation?

The cancellation hammer appears poised to come down hard on a number of prime-time series. Writing in New York Magazine, our good friend (and former TVWeeker) Joe Adalian says the networks are about to buckle down and make some tough decisions on their new fall shows.

So far, seven new series have received full-season orders, almost double the number that have been canceled, which is at four. "That ratio is about to change, however," Adalian writes.

Here is how Adalian sizes up the chances for each of the remaining shows:

"Back in the Game," ABC: "ABC might be able to exert patience if it were doing better in the overall ratings race. But as it is, it's hard to see 'Game' getting more episodes, let alone making it to a second inning," Adalian notes.

"Betrayal," ABC: Adalian writes, "ABC won't order any more episodes of this show, and it might even opt to shut down production on what's left of its initial episode order. In other words, say buh-bye to 'Betrayal.'"

"Dads," Fox: "Fox doesn't have anything else to put in the time slot, having already cut back on its order for the midseason half-hour 'Us and Them.' So it appears that 'Dads' will likely stay on Tuesdays through year's end," he writes. "But there's virtually no chance the network will give 'Dads' a second season."

"The Goldbergs," ABC: The comedy is "the kind of big, broad half-hour comedy ABC is looking to program. The network will be patient, at least for now."

"Hostages," CBS: Adalian notes, "To its credit, 'Hostages' is actually doing okay once DVR replays are tallied; its second episode jumped 67 percent once seven days of replays were counted. But even with the extra viewers, 'Hostages' just hasn't clicked."

"MasterChef Junior," Fox: He writes, "If it holds up in the next few weeks, Fox will almost certainly order another cycle of the show for next summer or fall."

"The Michael J. Fox Show," NBC: "NBC will be patient with this Thursday comedy because, well, it's contractually obligated to do so," Adalian points out. "If NBC had to make a decision about a second season for 'Fox' right now, it almost certainly would say 'no.' But the good news is that the show still has time to turn things around."

"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," ABC: Adalian writes, "After a weak premiere, last week's second episode dropped below NBC's 'Parks and Recreation' among viewers under 50." He adds that barring a sharp turnaround, "'Wonderland' is done."

"Sean Saves the World," NBC: A "triage on its Thursday night lineup" means that the network "wants to see if 'Sean' can show any signs of growth when its lead-in is slightly less dreadful than that supplied to it" by the canceled "Welcome to the Family," Adalian writes. "If that happens, perhaps NBC orders a few more episodes of 'Sean' to get it to the spring. More likely, it opts to cut its losses and figure out (yet another) comedy strategy.

"Super Fun Night," ABC: "After an okay start, viewership for Rebel Wilson's ABC comedy has fallen off sharply, particularly among viewers under 50," he notes. "It's 50-50 at this point whether ABC commits to more episodes."

"Trophy Wife," ABC: "Even when DVR data is added up, the numbers for 'Trophy' are decidedly meh," Adalian writes. "As it stands, the odds slightly favor ABC giving 'Trophy Wife' at least a few more episodes.

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This Could Be Good: A Sitcom Project Helmed by 'Everybody Loves Raymond' Creator Phil Rosenthal, to Star Henry Winkler, Gets Pilot Commitment

" 'Everybody Loves Raymond' creator Phil Rosenthal and 'Happy Days' star Henry Winkler have teamed with Winkler’s son, director Max Winkler, and son-in-law, actor Rob Reinis, for a new multicamera family comedy project," reports Nellie Andreeva in an exclusive story at Deadline.com.

The show has a pilot production commitment at ABC, the story notes.

"Written by Rosenthal, Max Winkler and Reinis and to be directed by Rosenthal, the comedy hails from 20th TV and Max Winkler and Jake Johnson’s studio-based Walcott Co," the story reports. "It centers on an emotionally reserved construction worker who learns about love, life and hugs while unexpectedly living with his in-laws -- Henry, to be played by Henry Winkler, and Stacey Winkler. (In real life, Henry Winkler has been married to his wife Stacey Winkler for more than 35 years.)

"After coming up with the idea for the project, brothers-in-law Max Winkler and Reinis wanted to team with an A-list showrunner who has experience in family comedy. They reached out to Rosenthal, who responded to the premise and came on board."

To read further details, we urge you to click on the link in the first paragraph, which will take you to Andreeva's article.

Thumbnail image for henry-winkler.pngHenry Winkler

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Video: 'Good Day New York' Cuts Short Segment With Porn Star

One of the best-known porn actresses had her segment on WNYW-TV's "Good Day New York" cut short after she was slurring and stumbling over her words, reports TMZ.com.

Adult film star Jenna Jameson was slated to appear Monday morning for two complete segments, but "after the first couple of minutes, it was clear Jenna was out of it (at the very least) ... and producers made the decision to cut off JJ before the second segment," the story reports.

Jameson has struggled with substance abuse in the past, the piece adds. She was on the show to promote her novel, "Sugar."

Here's the video:

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NBC Bumps Comedy Series From the Schedule for a Few Weeks

An NBC comedy series is off the schedule for the time being, with the network saying it will come back. The Huffington Post reports that the network announced a scheduling move that will leave "Parks And Recreation" on the sidelines for three weeks.

The move takes effect starting this Thursday, Oct. 24.

"In the place of 'Parks' on Thursday, NBC will air an episode of 'The Voice' starting at 8 p.m. ET," the story reports. "Next Thursday, 'Parks And Rec's' Halloween episode will be bumped for a 'Saturday Night Live' Halloween special and on Thursday, Nov. 7, a live episode of 'The Voice' will air at 8 p.m. ET."

The announcement comes on the heels of the cancellation of "Welcome to the Family," which aired in the time slot following "Parks and Recreation" at 8:30 p.m. ET Thursdays. NBC also canceled the drama series "Ironside."

NBC will reportedly air back-to-back episodes of "Parks And Recreation" Nov. 14 and 21, the article notes.

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Fox Networks Fills Key Executive Post

Fox Networks Group has found its replacement for Mike Hopkins, who is exiting the company to become chief executive of Hulu. According to The Hollywood Reporter, FNG named Michael Biard as its new distribution president.

Biard has worked at Fox since 2000, first in affiliate business affairs and also in national accounts. He also worked on the debuts and acquisitions of networks such as FXX, Nat Geo Wild and Fox Sports, the story notes.

Fox Networks Group Chairman Peter Rice said of Biard: “He’s a gifted negotiator who is also able to analyze and solve complex issues in order to create significant value for Fox and our MVPD and broadcast affiliate partners. Over the past several years he has provided thoughtful direction as the leader of our national accounts and digital distribution teams, and has made vast contributions to the success of our networks business. We are delighted he will be leading our distribution efforts."

michael biard.pngMichael Biard

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'Racy' Photos Get Rihanna Kicked Out of Mosque -- Here's a Sample

Singer Rihanna has ruffled feathers in the Islamic world, or as the New York Daily News put it, "Rihanna brought a little more instability to the Middle East."

Rihanna angered authorities at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi by posing for some photos at the holy site that they considered too racy. The singer posted the shots on Instagram -- one of them can be seen below.

Rihanna ended up being kicked out of the mosque.

"Though she covered up -- by her standards -- in a head-to-toe black form-fitting outfit, complete with a hijab headcovering, the 25-year-old pop star clearly didn’t get the memo on the spirit of Islamic law," the paper reports. "In photos that were posted on her Instagram site, Rihanna could be seen posing in several provocative poses with lips pancaked in ruby red lipstick -- a no-no for a society that stresses covering up women’s sexuality."

A representative for the mosque issued a statement to local media outlets saying: "She left without entering the mosque, after being asked to do so, due to the fact that she had taken some pictures that do not conform with the conditions and regulations put in place by the Centre’s management to regulate visits in a way that takes the status and sanctity of the mosque into consideration."

rihanna mosque instagram.pngRihanna at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

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Dolly Parton Hospitalized

Country superstar Dolly Parton was rushed to a Nashville hospital Monday morning, and the 67-year-old singer is reportedly "tired and sore" after a traffic collision, TMZ.com reports.

"A rep for the Nashville PD tells us Dolly was a passenger in a car being driven by her longtime friend Judy Ogle [Monday] morning ... when it was struck by another vehicle," the story reports. "So far, the details surrounding the crash are unclear ... but cops say Ogle was not to blame for the collision."

Parton went to an area hospital and received treatment for minor injuries before being released, the report notes.

She later tweeted about the crash, telling followers she's "tired and sore" but resting at her home, the story adds.

dolly parton.jpgDolly Parton

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Why Fox Is Delaying the Premiere of Its New Sci-Fi Series

Fox has decided to delay the premiere of a new science-fiction drama series, and the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that the reasoning has to do with football.

The network will delay the bow of "Almost Human" by two weeks, with the expectation that the later date will help the show take advantage of a lead-in from the NFL, the story reports.

The drama, which is executive produced by J.J. Abrams, was originally slated to debut Nov. 4, but now will become a two-night event on Nov. 17 and 18, with the show airing after the NFL doubleheader on the 17th, the story says.

"Will the big-game launch help the late-in-the-season debut? Fox has not had the easiest time launching sci-fi offerings (cough *'Terra Nova,' 'Alcatraz'* cough) in recent years. And the network seems keen on the idea of using sports as a way to draw more viewers," the piece notes.

The show is about police officers who are paired with androids who appear human.


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Oscar Winner Joins TNT's 'Falling Skies'

An Oscar-winning actress will join TNT's alien invasion drama "Falling Skies" in its fourth season. Deadline.com reports that Mira Sorvino is signed on for the show.

Sorvino will play Sara, a woman who used to be a graphic designer, in a recurring role set for next summer. Her character meets guerrilla fighter John Pope, who convinces her to join the resistance.

The casting marks Sorvino's return to TNT, after she starred in the drama pilot "Trooper."

Sorvino, the daughter of actor Paul Sorvino, won an Oscar for her role as Linda Ash, the proverbial "hooker with a heart of gold," in the 1995 Woody Allen movie "Mighty Aphrodite."

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for mira-sorvino.jpgMira Sorvino

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Producer on NBC's 'Community' Sells Comedies to CBS, ABC

"Community" co-executive producer Erik Sommers has sold comedies to ABC and CBS, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

Sommers is working with David Caspe of "Happy Endings" on "Roommates," a comedy that has a script plus penalty order at CBS. Sommers and Caspe will write and executive produce the project, which is about a ladies' man who takes in a man whose life is a mess, the story says.

Jamie Tarses of "Happy Endings" will executive produce the comedy for Sony Pictures Television, the piece adds.

Separately, ABC has bought an emergency-room comedy that will be written and executive produced by Sommers. The network has given the untitled project a script commitment.

The comedy is about a young doctor who starts her career at an inner-city hospital filled with eccentric doctors and nurses.

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Cable Channel Creates an Obvious Alternative to the Puppy Bowl

In a move best described as counterprogramming to counterprogramming -- all of it related to TV outlets' struggle to find something to put on the air during the Super Bowl -- Hallmark Channel is taking a page from Animal Planet's successful Puppy Bowl program.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hallmark is creating its own Super Bowl counterprogramming featuring another cute species: kittens. "The Kitten Bowl" will be hosted by Beth Stern, with New York Yankees radio announcer John Sterling providing the play-by-play. Stern is the wife of "America's Got Talent" judge Howard Stern and a model.

"About 60 to 70 kittens will participate in two preliminary playoffs and a championship match. There is an obstacle course of hurdles, tunnels, hoops, jumps, toys on strings and more. Along with Sterling -- known for his colorful catch phrases such as 'Swishalicious' and 'A thrilla by Godzilla!' -- the cable channel promises analysis and color commentary by 'cats made famous by YouTube videos and Instagram followings,'" the story reports.

The Puppy Bowl has aired on Animal Planet since 2005, and has also included a "Kitty Half-Time Show."

beth stern.jpgBeth Stern

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Netflix Reaches a Milestone, Sending Shares Soaring

Netflix on Monday announced that it had achieved a milestone, and the news appeared to boost stock prices. The service revealed it now reaches 40 million worldwide subscribers, causing investors to push up the stock more than 11% in after-hours trading, reports The New York Times.

"But with each record, Netflix faces the same, pressing question: Can it go on adding subscribers by the millions to keep shareholders happy?" the story notes.

Despite the soaring stock price, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings and Chief Financial Officer David B. Wells downplayed the the enthusiasm for the stock, writing in a shareholder letter, "Some of the euphoria today feels like 2003." They added, "We do our best to ignore the volatility in our stock."

Netflix said it added 1.3 million streaming customers in the U.S. in the third quarter.

Please click here to read an in-depth report on the looming battle between Netflix and the TV networks, by TV Guide writer Michael Schneider.

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Son of Two-Time Oscar Winner Is Cast in His First Big Acting Gig, on HBO

The son of one of today's top movie stars is getting his acting career off the ground, and he just landed his first big job. John David Washington, the son of two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington, signed on for the HBO pilot "Ballers," reports Deadline.com.

The half-hour dramedy stars Dwayne Johnson, with Washington taking on a regular role as Ricky, a spiritual and competitive pro athlete, the story says. The show focuses on several athletes in Miami.

Washington, who played football at Morehouse College and also with the NFL's St. Louis Rams, has only one acting credit to his name, a small role in his father's 1992 film "Malcolm X," the piece notes.

Denzel Washington won Oscars for his lead role in "Training Day" (2001) and a supporting role in "Glory" (1989).

john david washington rams.jpgJohn David Washington

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Kanye West Pops the Question to Kim Kardashian

Kanye West popped the question and Kim Kardashian gave him her answer. Reality star Kardashian is now engaged to rapper West, who proposed to her in front of their friends and family at San Francisco's AT&T Park, reports E! Online.

West rented out the stadium to propose, the story says. The couple had a baby girl June 15, and Kardashian has kept a lower profile than normal since then.

The couple's marital status has been the subject of speculation before, with Kardashian earlier this year saying, "[Marriage] is something I know that we both want in our future, but I don't have this sense of urgency about it."

Kardashian finalized her divorce from basketball player Kris Humphries earlier this year.

kim kardashian kanye west.pngKim Kardashian and Kanye West

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Syfy Renews Series, Lines Up Specials

Syfy has made the decision to bring back one of its shows for another season. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the cable channel renewed the reality competition series "Face Off' for a sixth season, and also added two specials that will air in November.

The series, which features 14 makeup artists in a competition to fashion creatures and characters, will end its fifth season tonight, Tuesday, the story notes.

The two hourlong specials are "Naked and Painted," which will look at body painting, and "Top 20 Countdown: Judges' Favorites, Face Off," which will look at some of the show's favorite creations.

"Naked and Painted" will air Nov. 12, with "Top 20 Countdown: Judges' Favorites, Face Off" scheduled for Nov. 19.

face off syfy.jpg

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Producer Behind Animated Hits Such as 'He-Man' and 'Fat Albert' Dead at 84

A veteran television producer who was behind a number of animated hits has died. The Los Angeles Times reports that Filmation founder Lou Scheimer, who led the animation studio that produced Saturday morning staples such as "He-Man" and "Fat Albert," died Thursday, Oct. 17, at 84 from Parkinson's disease.

"Scheimer's company, which in the early 1980s was the largest animation operation in the country based on its number of employees, was lauded for being one of the last holdouts against shipping work overseas," the Times notes. "But Filmation television cartoons were roundly criticized by movie buffs for lacking the artistry and full motion of theatrical cartoons of a bygone era."

Scheimer told the Times in 1981 that the demands of network schedules meant that it was "practically impossible to take all care and love we would like to on the technical aspects." He added: "We'd love to do theatrical shorts, and if you can find somebody to pay for them, let us know."

With a $5,000 loan from his mother-in-law, Scheimer founded Filmation Associates in 1962.

In an early bid for business, Filmation asked to do a series on Superman, but DC Comics asked to visit the studio to see whether it could handle the job. At that time Filmation had only a small staff.

"I called everybody I knew, and we filled the place up with people doing fake drawings," Scheimer said in a documentary about the cartoon series.

That led to Filmation's first hit, "The New Adventures of Superman," the story notes.

Scheimer won a daytime Emmy for producing the 1974-75 "Star Trek" animated series. His company worked on shows such as "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," "The Archie Show" and "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe," but he also had some misses, including the 1975 "Uncle Croc's Block," which featured Charles Nelson Reilly dressed as a crocodile in some live sequences, the story says.

The company was sold in 1969 to Teleprompter, which itself was bought in 1981 by Westinghouse.

The Times adds: "Scheimer remained as head of Filmation but he was pressed to cut costs, and in 1987 he angered workers and their union with the announcement that some work would be shipped overseas. In 1989 Filmation was bought by a French investor group that closed the Woodland Hills plant, firing almost all the employees."

lou scheimer.jpgLou Scheimer

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Sunday Ratings: One Big Four Network Tops the Other Three -- Combined

Sunday night's broadcast ratings were no contest, as one network topped all of its big four rivals combined, in both the key 18-49 demo and total viewers, based on Nielsen overnights.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that NBC, which carried the "Sunday Night Football" clash between the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, piled up numbers that beat CBS, ABC and Fox combined. None of the other three networks had a particularly strong night, while NBC saw its game coverage deliver a 9.5 average in the demo and a whopping 25.87 million total viewers. The 18-49 average was up from a 7.3 for the game a week ago.

NBC averaged a 7.8 rating in viewers 18-49 for prime time overall, easily outdistancing CBS (2.7 average), ABC (1.4) and Fox (1.1), with Univision in fifth place (1.0). In total viewers, NBC's 21.5 million average outpaced CBS (12.3 million), ABC (5.6 million), Univision (2.9 million) and Fox (2.7 million).

The numbers may be subject to more than the usual adjustments, the piece notes, due to the nature of live programming. Besides the live sports programming on NBC, CBS's lineup was delayed by 30 minutes in much of the country due to football overrun.

In non-sports programming, CBS's "60 Minutes," which led out from football, delivered the best number among the big four networks, a 3.2 average rating in 18-49, up from a 1.5 a week ago. "The Amazing Race" equaled last week's 1.9, "The Good Wife" ticked up two-tenths from a series low last week to a 1.4, and "The Mentalist" fell one-tenth to a new series low, a 1.2.

ABC was paced by "Once Upon a Time," which fell four-tenths from last week to a 2.0 in adults 18-49, equaling its series low. "Revenge" slipped one-tenth to a 1.5 and "Betrayal" gained one-tenth to a 0.9.

Fox aired repeats of its Animation Domination lineup, with two episodes of "The Simpsons" each recording a 1.3 in the 18-49 demo.

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Is This the Final Nail in the Coffin for Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' Case?

A judge denied actress Nicollette Sheridan's effort to revive her "Desperate Housewives" case, siding with ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq.

"A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Friday accepted a summary judgment ending Nicollette Sheridan's long battle against ABC over the circumstances that led to her being dropped from the show 'Desperate Housewives,'" the piece notes.

"Sheridan had sought a new trial based solely on her claim that ABC retaliated against her for complaining about working conditions," the article says.

As previously reported, the court had sided mostly with ABC in her lawsuit, which alleged that she was unlawfully terminated when her character was killed off. She initially sued for $20 million.

With the latest ruling, Deadline.com reports: "It's finally over -- at least for now."

The Deadline story adds: "Even if the case had gone forward, it was going to be a hard one as [creator Marc] Cherry was dismissed as a defendant in the original case in early 2012. If ABC’s motion had failed, the retrial was set to start December 2. Attorneys for Sheridan are expected to appeal today’s ruling."

Nicollette-Sheridan.jpgNicollette Sheridan

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'CSI' Star Who Butted Heads With Writer Rejoins the Show

"CSI" is bringing back a star who stepped away from the series in August following a dispute with a writer. TheWrap.com reports that George Eads, who plays Nick Stokes on the cop show, has returned to the production.

As previously reported, Eads took a leave of absence from the CBS drama after he got into a dispute with a writer who was eight months pregnant.

Eads, who has played Stokes since the show's pilot episode in 2000, has since returned to work on the show, the piece reports. He will next be seen on an episode slated to air Nov. 20, adds EW.com's Inside TV. His absence won't be addressed on the show, the piece notes.

Thumbnail image for george-eads.pngGeorge Eads

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Show That Was Canceled by NBC Finds New Life on Cable

A cable channel is stepping in to give a canceled NBC series a new lease on life. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that Lifetime is reviving "Betty White's Off Their Rockers" after the hidden-camera series was canceled by NBC.

Lifetime has ordered 20 original episodes of the show, which will air on the network in 2014, although a premiere date hasn't yet been set. NBC aired the first two seasons of the show, with its premiere coinciding with White's 90th birthday.

"Off Their Rockers" won't be the first show that Lifetime has saved from television death. The network also revived "America's Most Wanted" for a 25th season, although it later canceled the series, and picked up "Devious Maids" after ABC passed on the drama, the story points out.

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'The Voice' Judge Avoids Sexual Assault Charges, Faces Another Felony Charge

"The Voice" judge CeeLo Green will be cleared of charges that he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman by putting a drug in her drink, reports TMZ.com.

The Los Angeles County D.A. was expected to formally reject the sexual assault case this morning, although it will reportedly charge him with the felony of providing ecstasy, the story notes.

As previously reported, Green became the target of an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department after a woman alleged that the singer sexually assaulted her. Green was adamant that he didn't do anything wrong.

The authorities found problems in the woman's story, one of which was that she and Green had allegedly been dating for months, the story says. Green reportedly urged the authorities to fully investigate, and the D.A. planned to reject the sexual assault case because of lack of sufficient evidence, the story notes.

Thumbnail image for ceelogreen-purrfect.jpgCeeLo Green

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NBC Series Breaks DVR Ratings Record

An NBC drama series just broke a DVR ratings record, achieving a milestone as the first broadcast TV series to attract more than 6 million viewers via playback in the first seven days after broadcast. The series is the new James Spader drama "The Blacklist," EW.com's Inside TV reports.

The record was noted after Nielsen released its full DVR data for the second week of the new season, the story says. The show drew 11.4 million viewers on its premiere night, but that jumped to 17.9 million in its first full seven days. The number for premiere night includes DVR playback that night.

"The Blacklist" gained a hefty 67% in viewers 18-49 from the Day 1 metric to the 7-day measure. A couple of other NBC shows were in that same ballpark -- even eclipsing "The Blacklist" by that measure -- with "Parenthood" gaining 69% and "Revolution" gaining 68%.

Fox's "New Girl" had the biggest gain of any show on the major broadcast networks, rising 85%. Other Fox shows benefiting greatly from DVR use included "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," up 73%, and "Sleepy Hollow," up 70%. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" just received a full-season order from Fox, as we reported separately.

CBS was paced in percentage gain via DVR by "Elementary, which rose 77%. ABC's top gainers were "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," up 67%, and "Nashville," up 66%.

Thumbnail image for the-blacklist.jpg

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'Masters of Sex' Star (and Former 'Freaks and Geeks' Cast Member) Lizzy Caplan: 'Lots of Nudity, But Still A Feminist Story'

Lizzy Caplan, who stars as Virginia Johnson on Showtime's new series "Masters of Sex," recalls being filled with terror when she first saw the scripts for the series, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

Caplan, 31, who attended Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, tells the Times, "I had a year away from the nudity [after filming the pilot]. And I just remember sitting at my kitchen table reading [the scripts] all at once, being like, 'Oh, my God, I have to do it.' It was really overwhelming. You have such mixed emotions about it, especially as a woman. It's like, am I exploiting myself or am I empowering myself?"

Caplan adds, "It's a testament to the writing that you can have a show about sex with lots of female nudity and still have it be a feminist story."

"Caplan made her TV debut as Jason Segel's disco-loving girlfriend on the beloved 'Freaks and Geeks,' while a teenager," the story notes.

The article adds: "Caplan's mother died when she was 13, and the loss, she says, helped forge her tough-girl persona. 'That was it: I was going to be the one who pretended everything was fine. I am tough, I guess, but I also know myself well enough now to know that true toughness comes from letting those walls down. It took me a long time to be able to do that.'"

lizzy caplan.jpgLizzy Caplan on Showtime's "Masters of Sex"

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MTV Picks Up Two Comedies as Channel Bolsters Its Scripted Programming

MTV has picked up two new half-hour comedies. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the cable channel ordered a high-school show called "Faking It" and a theme-park program, "Happyland."

Both shows received orders for eight episodes. "Faking it" is about two best friends who are trying to navigate the social hierarchy at high school, and comes from Carter Covington of "Hart of Dixie."

"Happyland" is about a teenager whose mom works as a fairy tale princess at the theme park. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan of "Smash" are executive producing.

The comedies are joining "Awkward" on the schedule at MTV, which is adding original scripted programming, the piece notes. Three drama pilots are in the works at the network, with "Finding Carter" and "Eye Candy" starting to cast, while "Scream" is described as "on the back burner," the article reports.

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Fox Picks Up Comedy for a Full Season

Fox has given a full-season order to a new fall comedy series. TheWrap.com reports that the broadcast network picked up an additional nine episodes of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."

The Andy Samberg comedy will now run for 22 episodes this season.

Additionally, Fox revealed that "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" will join "New Girl" in a special one-hour comedy block that will air right after the Super Bowl, the story adds.

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is averaging a 2.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic, with 4.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen data for the show's first five telecasts.

brooklyn nine-nine.png

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NUVOtv Appoints Well-Known Cable Veteran to Key Post

NUVOtv announced today that it has appointed a well-known veteran of the cable industry as executive vice president, marketing. The English-language entertainment network aimed at Latinos named award-winning cable marketer Laura Masse to the post.

"In this newly created position, Masse will oversee all marketing for the network, including brand strategy, creative services, on-air promotion, consumer marketing, corporate communications as well as the network’s digital presence across platforms," the company said in its announcement. "She is based in Los Angeles and reports to Michael Schwimmer, Chief Executive Officer, NUVOtv."

Said Schwimmer: “Laura is one of the pre-eminent brand marketers in the television business, having achieved tremendous success in helping to build and strengthen marquee network brands including Discovery Channel, AMC and Hallmark Channel. We are thrilled to welcome her to the NUVOtv team at this exciting time in our own network’s growth and development.”

Masse has more than 20 years of experience as a senior marketing executive. She founded the marketing consultancy LBM, advising clients including AMC Networks, Madison Square Garden and RLTV.

The announcement adds: "Previously, she was Executive Vice President, Marketing for Crown Media Holdings, Inc., owner and operator of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. There, she oversaw all facets of brand-building and marketing for the channels, designing multi-platform strategies that propelled Hallmark Channel to consistently rank in the Top 10 in average primetime HH ratings."

The release notes: "Masse and her teams have won numerous accolades for their work, including CTAM GOLD Mark Awards and Multichannel News’ Campaign of the Year for the successful television premiere of 'March of the Penguins.' Masse has been awarded the Brand Builder Award by Promax & BDA, which recognizes innovative marketing and promotion executives responsible for leading today’s premier broadcast and cable companies."

laura masse.jpgLaura Masse

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CW Series Gets a 21st Season

A long-running series airing on the CW has been picked up for what will be its 21st season. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the broadcast network renewed the competition series "America's Next Top Model."

The Tyra Banks series has become a significant part of The CW's summer programming, helping to bridge into the network's fall schedule, the story says.

The 21st cycle will once again focus on both men and women competing for the title, a twist that was first featured in the 20th cycle, the report notes. Season 20 wraps Nov. 15.

tyra banks.pngTyra Banks

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NBC's 'Parks and Recreation' May Have a Small Overall Audience, But It Has a Certain Demographic Going for It

The cult NBC comedy "Parks and Recreation" may have a small audience, but its viewers score high when it comes to household income, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"Among the series on the four major networks this fall, 'Parks' has the highest concentration of upscale young adult viewers," the story reports.

That demographic is defined as people age 18-49 who live in households with annual income of $100,000 or more, the report notes. The show has a 171 score in the "upscale density index," with 100 marking an average concentration of upscale homes.

Still, "Parks" has a relatively small audience overall, with about 3.37 million viewers and a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo.

In terms of sheer numbers, ABC's "Modern Family" is the leader in the demo of upscale young adults, with CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" at No. 2, as we reported last week.

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ABC Hopes to Capture Some of That Vegas Magic

An untitled drama from Martin Campbell of "Casino Royale" has been bought by ABC, with the project set in Las Vegas and focusing on an FBI forensic psychiatrist who works with a magician to catch evil-doers, reports Deadline.com.

The pair will work on stings, helped by showgirls, hustlers and card cheats, the story says.

Separately, ABC has put into development "The Law of Attraction," a legal drama written by married couple Jonathan Shapiro of "The Practice" and Betsy Borns of "All of Us," the report notes.

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NBC Cancels Two of Its Fall Series

NBC has canceled two of its new fall series that were suffering from the lowest ratings of the network's latest crop, reports our friend Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

"Ironside," a remake of the classic TV series, starred Blair Underwood, while "Welcome to the Family" was about two multi-ethnic families, with the Times describing it as a "Modern Family" clone.

With "Ironside" leaving its 10 p.m. ET/PT Wednesday time slot, NBC will air "Dateline" crime packages and holiday specials in its place until January. In the new year, "Chicago P.D.," an offshoot of "Chicago Fire," will take over the time period.

The original "Ironside," starring Raymond Burr, ran on NBC from 1967 to 1975.
"Welcome to the Family," a sitcom that was seen on Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT, will be replaced by "Parks and Recreation," which will expand to fill the entire 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. block, as "Parks" currently airs at 8 p.m. "Community" will return in January in the 8 p.m. slot, followed by "Parks."

The article notes: "The moves come as NBC finds itself at a crossroads. The network -- which suffered through years of poor ratings -- is No. 1 so far this fall in the key adults aged 18 to 49 demographic, the group most sought by big advertisers.
"However, most of that strength is due to Sunday NFL football games -- which disappear in January -- as well as the singing smash 'The Voice.'"

The story notes that NBC will likely be able to avoid the ratings drop-off it had last January because this winter the network will broadcast the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Thumbnail image for blair underwood in ironside.jpgBlair Underwood in "Ironside"

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Drama Series Becomes the Most-Watched Non-Sports Telecast in Cable History

The biggest show on television, outside of the National Football League, is a cable drama, and Deadline.com reports that the ratings picture just keeps getting better for that series, AMC's "The Walking Dead." Now the show can claim another record, and it's a big one.

"With Live+3 numbers now in, the October 13 Season 4 debut of the AMC zombie apocalypse series added another 4.1 million viewers to the 16.1 million result of Live+Same Day," the story reports. "That 20.2 million viewership total gives 'The Walking Dead' premiere the title of the most watched non-sports telecast in cable history."

"Walking Dead" knocked Disney Channel's "High School Musical 2," the previous holder of the title of top Live+3 non-sports telecast, off its perch. "Musical" had held the title since 2007.

"The Disney Channel movie drew 18.2 million viewers in Live+3, a 1 million addition over the 17.2 million it got in its August 17, 2007 telecast," Deadline reports, adding: "In terms of the key adults 18-49 demographic, 'The Walking Dead' continued its top spot hold and added another 2.8 million viewers to a total of 13.2 million."

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One of the Most Famous Detectives in Popular Culture Headed to Broadcast TV

A detective who became a household name thanks to books, movies and magazines will soon make an attempt at becoming a fixture on broadcast television. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that some industry veterans are bringing Philip Marlowe to ABC.

"'Castle' creator Andrew Marlowe is bringing Raymond Chandler's famed detective Philip Marlowe back to life," the story reports. "The showrunner behind the Nathan Fillion starrer is teaming with 'Castle' writer/consulting producer Terri Edda Miller and prolific producer Michael De Luca ('The Social Network') for an untitled Philip Marlowe drama set up at ABC with a script commitment."

Humphrey Bogart's depiction of Marlowe in "The Big Sleep" in 1946 was just one high-profile appearance for the detective, who was also played on the big screen by Robert Mitchum, Elliott Gould, Dick Powell and George Sanders, among many others.

"The drama is described as a smart, sexy and stylish update of Chandler's timeless character," THR reports. "It follows the investigations of the wisecracking, edgy and rugged private detective Philip Marlowe as he navigates the morally complicated world of today's Los Angeles, where the California sun casts long and dangerous shadows and where true love can be more difficult to find than justice."

Andrew Marlowe and Miller, who are a married couple, will write the script and exec produce the project through their MilMar Pictures company for ABC Studios and Michael De Luca Productions, the piece notes.

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Changing of the Guard for CBS's Thursday Night Comedy Lineup: A Veteran Sitcom Sinks to a Historic Low, While Two Newcomers Flex Their Muscle

Even on a night when the red-hot "Big Bang Theory" cooled off a little, CBS claimed a ratings win Thursday with its mostly comedy lineup, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that "Bang" slipped 4% from a week ago to record a 4.9 average rating in 18-49 -- still by far the top show on broadcast prime last night. Leading out from "Bang," CBS's two new Thursday night comedies continued to show early-season strength. "The Millers" was up 7% from last week to a 3.2, while the new Robin Williams sitcom "The Crazy Ones" also rose -- 4% to a 2.5.

The bad news for CBS: Onetime comedy juggernaut "Two and a Half Men" and drama series "Elementary" both sank to all-time lows. "Men" fell 9% from a week ago to a 2.1 in the 18-49 demo, while "Elementary" lost 16% to score a 1.6 -- less than half the number turned in by its 10 p.m. time slot competitor on ABC, "Scandal."

"Scandal" delivered a 3.3 average for ABC in 18-49, improving 6% from a week ago. But the rest of prime time was all about bad news for ABC, with "Grey's Anatomy" equaling its series low with a 2.6, off 7% from the previous week, while the newcomer "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" had a troubling 29% falloff from last week's premiere, turning in a feeble 1.2.

Tying ABC for second place overall was Fox, which scored a 2.4 average in adults 18-49 with its Major League Baseball playoffs.

NBC was mostly up, but it has a long way to go to catch its broadcast rivals on Thursday nights and finished in fifth place behind Univision. "Parks and Recreation" rose 8% from a week ago in 18-49 to a 1.3, "Welcome to the Family" surged 13% to a 0.9, "Sean Saves the World" climbed 10% to a 1.1 and "Parenthood" was up 8% to a 1.3, while "The Michael J. Fox Show" equaled last week's number, a 1.2.

For prime time overall, CBS took a narrow win with a 2.6 average in adults 18-49, ahead of Fox and ABC, tied with 2.4 averages, then Univision (1.4) and NBC (1.2). CBS was comfortably ahead in total viewers, averaging 10.7 million to lead Fox (8.9 million), ABC (7.5 million), NBC (3.415 million) and Univision (3.366 million).

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ABC Developing 'Beta' Project

ABC has a project in development with Chris Weitz of "About a Boy," based on the book "Beta," Deadline.com reports. The young adult book is written by Rachel Cohn.

Adapted by movie writer Lindsay Devlin, the project is about a future where clones are enslaved as workers for the elite. But a new Beta model discovers her own history and the utopia's secrets, the piece adds.

The project is executive produced by Temple Hill's Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey and Larry Gilbert, as well as Weitz, Andrew Miano and Paul Weitz, the story says. The project again pairs up "Twilight Saga: New Moon" director Chris Weitz with Temple Hill, which produced the movie franchise, the story says.

“We had a great time working with Temple Hill on 'New Moon' and are thrilled to be back in business with Wyck, Marty and Larry,” Chris Weitz said.

chris weitz.jpgChris Weitz

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CBS Gives Full-Season Orders to Three New Comedies

CBS gave a vote of confidence to three new comedy series, extending all three to full-season orders, USA Today reports. The network announced today that it has ordered nine additional episodes apiece of "Mom," "The Millers" and "The Crazy Ones."

"'The Crazy Ones,' starring Robin Williams as an ad exec, is fall's top new comedy, averaging 13.7 million viewers through last week," the piece reports. "'The Millers,' a family comedy starring Will Arnett, Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges that's sandwiched between 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'Crazy Ones' on Thursdays, is averaging 12.4 million. And 'Mom,' the fourth CBS comedy from creator Chuck Lorre, is drawing 8 million on Mondays."

CBS's two other new shows haven't fared as well, the piece notes. The comedy "We Are Men" was canceled after two episodes, and the drama series "Hostages" is having trouble finding an audience during what's planned as a 15-episode run. The new drama "Intelligence," with Josh Holloway starring, is on the way in January as a replacement for "Hostages."

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ABC-Owned TV Stations May Be Put Up for Sale

The ABC-owned television stations are poised to go on the market. The New York Post reports that the company is making moves toward a possible sale of the eight owned-and-operated stations, which could be worth billions.

Corporate owner The Walt Disney Co. is looking to hire an investment bank to help with the possible sale, the report notes.

"Disney’s ABC-affiliated stations are in larger markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and reach roughly 23% of U.S. TV households," the story reports, adding: "The is not the first time Disney has flirted with selling its broadcast group, and sources cautioned that the media giant is still mulling the idea and may decide against it."

The network itself, however, is not for sale, according to the report.

"Disney CEO Bob Iger is interested in what the broadcast business could fetch now that station valuations are much higher than when the company last explored a sale in 2010," the Post reports. "In July, Tribune paid $2.73 billion for 19 stations owned by Local TV, while Sinclair paid $985 million for seven Allbritton-owned stations. Earlier, Gannett bought Belo and its 20 stations for $1.5 billion."

The story points to a recent "wave of consolidation as companies buy up TV stations to reap the rising 'retransmission' fees cable companies and other distributors cough up for the right to carry broadcast signals."

Said David Bank, an analyst with RBC Capital: “The station business is better than it’s been in a decade. However, stations are probably the least synergistic business to the Disney brand within the platform.”

The piece notes that revenue for the ABC broadcast stations was $5.82 billion in 2012, about the same as the $5.84 billion they generated in 2011.

"Disney’s ABC stations are in the midst of retrans negotiations with satellite-TV operator Dish. Broadcast rival CBS and its stations recently won retrans rates from Time Warner Cable that approach $2 per subscriber a month," the report adds. "Broadcasters are estimated to reap $3 billion in retrans revenue this year, according to SNL Kagan."

A spokesperson for Disney was unavailable for comment, the report notes.

The ABC-owned stations include WABC-TV in New York, KABC-TV in Los Angeles, WLS-TV in Chicago and WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.

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Star's Medical Condition Halts Production on CBS Drama

A CBS drama series was forced to halt production because the show's star had to undergo surgery. Deadline.com reports that the midseason drama "Intelligence" halted production Wednesday because star Meghan Ory is on medical leave following an appendectomy.

The project filmed around Ory's absence for several days, but had to stop after it ran out of scenes that don't feature the actress. Her doctors have advised that she needs more time for recovery.

She is expected to return to work Monday, when taping should resume, the piece notes. The project's other lead is Josh Holloway, with Marg Helgenberger of "CSI" in a large supporting role.

The drama is slated to debut Feb. 24.

meghan ory.jpgMeghan Ory

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Video: TV News Prematurely Announces Politician's Death

News people working for two different TV networks made the same flub Thursday, prematurely announcing the death of a U.S. political figure. TVNewser.com reports that Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson and NBC News correspondent Luke Russert reported that Rep. Bill Young, R.-Fla., had died.

In fact, Young is gravely ill, but not deceased, the story says.

Russert tweeted the news at 1:54 p.m., with other NBC News reporters retweeting his message. Carlson reported the news on air at 2:05.

Young's family clarified the situation soon afterward, noting that Young is in the hospital and "gravely ill" but not dead. Fox News and Russert then corrected their statements.

"I am really sorry to report that earlier we did report that Congressman Bill Young had passed away, and we can now report that was not the case,” Carlson said. “We sincerely apologize for the error -- hopefully that will not happen again.”

Young, who is 82, served 22 terms in Congress before announcing last week that he would not seek re-election.

Here's a clip of the Fox News report:

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Fans Have a Problem With Melissa McCarthy's Elle Cover -- See for Yourself

The cover of the November issue of Elle magazine, featuring "Mike & Molly" star Melissa McCarthy, has some fans of the actress up in arms. US Magazine reports that they've been complaining because McCarthy is covered by a large overcoat and sports a hairstyle that obstructs part of her face.

Other actresses featured in the November "Women in Hollywood" issue are given much more exposure, such as Reese Witherspoon, who is featured in a form-fitting black outfit.

As Slate's June Thomas wrote, "Perhaps photographer Thomas Whiteside only knows how to photograph the usual stick insect models, because he clearly has no clue how to highlight McCarthy’s curves."

Thomas adds that despite the enthusiasm some people have for Elle's decision to put a plus-sized woman on the cover, "Should Elle really get credit for this?"

Elle defended its approach, saying in a statement, "On all of our shoots, our stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in, and this is no different: Melissa loved this look, and is gorgeous on our cover."

Here's the cover ...

elle cover november 2013 melissa mccarthy.jpg

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Report Paints Grim Picture of Casey Kasem's Mental State

Casey Kasem's "mind is almost gone and he's unable to function," according to a new report citing a legal document obtained by TMZ.com.

The website reports that the radio DJ and voice of Shaggy in "Scooby-Doo" has "major impairment to short term, long term and immediate recall memory; major impairment to verbally communicate; major impairment to perform simple calculations, plan simple tasks and reason logically; severe disorganized thinking; [and] moderate hallucinations."

His condition was outlined in a report based on a recent examination by a doctor. Kasem is said to be suffering from advanced Parkinson's and dementia, and is at the center of a bitter legal battle between his wife, Jean Kasem, and his children, as we reported recently.

The document was filed by Kasem's daughter Julie, who along with his other children is fighting to become conservator for her father, replacing her stepmother, the piece adds.

"The doctor says Casey has been sliding downhill for the last 3 to 4 years," the report notes.

Casey Kasem is the founder of the long-running "America's Top 40" radio program.

Casey-Kasem.jpgCasey Kasem

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TNT Renews Series

TNT has made the call to bring back one of its series for another season. Deadline.com reports that the cable channel is going ahead with a fourth season of "Franklin & Bash."

The legal series, the last of TNT's summer scripted shows to receive a decision on its future, will get a 10-episode fourth season, the story reports. The show opened its third season with 2 million Live+Same Day viewers, and drew 2.2 million viewers for its finale, the piece adds.

The dramedy, created by Kevin Falls and Bill Chais, stars Breckin Meyer and "Saved by the Bell" graduate Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

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Put on Some Mom Jeans! -- Kim Kardashian Getting Hassled Over Revealing Swimsuit Selfie ... Here It Is

Reality star and new mom Kim Kardashian is getting flak from fans after she posted a photo of herself wearing a revealing white bathing suit, reports the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

The picture "sent shock waves through social media," the story says, with many fans expressing the sentiment that the picture was "inappropriate" given Kardashian's status as a new mother.

Complaints also included accusations that Kardashian and Kanye West, the father of her daughter, are "obsessed with themselves," the story adds.

Kardashian has lost weight after her pregnancy by going on the Atkins diet, the story notes.

One Twitter user posted: "Smh [shaking my head] @ Kim Kardashian's latest selfie. Put on some mom jeans and go feed Compas," apparently a reference to the baby, North West.

Here's the controversial photo ...

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Fox Orders Series About 'Deceit, Sex, Intrigue ... and Fantastical Goings-On'

Fox has placed a series order for a new action-adventure. The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that the project, "Hieroglyph," is set in ancient Egypt.

The series received a 13-episode order from Fox. Created by "Pacific Rim" co-writer Travis Beacham, the show is about a thief who is pulled from prison to work for the pharaoh. Production will start early next year.

“We wanted to do a show about deceit, sex, intrigue in the court and fantastical goings-on -- no better place to set that than ancient Egypt,” said Kevin Reilly, chairman of entertainment for Fox.

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Will a 'Breaking Bad' Producer Fix Things for the Martin Scorsese-Mick Jagger Project at HBO?

The troubled Martin Scorsese-Mick Jagger project at HBO could get some help from one of the key players behind AMC's "Breaking Bad." Deadline.com reports that George Mastras, the co-executive producer of "Breaking Bad," has signed a two-year overall deal with HBO and is talks to join the rock 'n' roll production.

As we reported Thursday, the Scorsese-Jagger project has run into some turbulence behind the scenes, with the effort losing its showrunners this week over differences in creative direction. The project tracks a record executive in 1970s New York City.

Mastras would potentially serve as the project's new showrunner, the story says. "According to HBO, Mastras is in talks on a number of HBO projects, including the rock ‘n’ roll drama," the piece notes.

george mastras.pngGeorge Mastras

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How Does a Network Follow Up on 'Sharknado'? Syfy Is About to Unleash Two New Movies It Hopes Will Do Just That

Syfy, the network that brought viewers "Sharknado," has two new movies in the pipeline as it seeks to follow up on the attention it got with its weather-related shark movie that became a social-media phenomenon.

Lisa de Moraes reports on Deadline.com that the new Syfy projects include one about sea vampires and another about a weather system that hurls boulders.

"Syfy announced [Thursday] that on Saturday, November 9, it will premiere its new movie about a sister and brother team, prospecting for gold in an underwater cave, who accidentally disturb a colony of blood-sucking amphibious predators, aka sea vampires, who can function on land without having to wait for some freakish weather system to wreak havoc on the area -- just dim-witted gold-prospecting siblings," de Moraes writes.

The project is called "Beast of the Bering Sea" and stars Jonathan Lipnicki, who as a child was known for his role in "Jerry Maguire," as the brother. His sister will be played by "Sharknado" actress Cassie Scerbo.

On Nov. 23, Syfy will air "Stonados," about "a freak weather system that causes the hurling of deadly boulders. Which is to say they are deadly boulders that are being hurled -- they’re not hurling boulders, which would be a medical drama, on TLC," the story notes.

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NBC Developing Pharmaceutical Drama

NBC is working with "Parenthood" executive producer Lawrence Trilling on a drama about pharmaceutical companies, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The drama, "Empowered," will be written by Trilling, who will also direct if the project moves to the pilot stage. He will also executive produce with Shaun Cassidy. The pair previously worked together on ABC's "Invasion," the piece notes.

The project is about a woman who works for pharmaceutical giant Omni Health, who starts to search for truth after her father is killed and a stranger claims that Omni and her husband are to blame, according to the story.

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Gay MSNBC Host Opens Up About Taking Gig in Moscow in Wake of Russia's Anti-Gay Law

Openly gay MSNBC host Thomas Roberts writes on his blog at MSNBC.com that he's co-hosting Miss Universe in Moscow because "it is a huge, visible opportunity for LGBT people. Everywhere."

Thomas is taking on the role after Andy Cohen, the regular co-host of the pageant, decided to boycott the event. As previously reported, a controversial anti-gay law was passed in Russia, leading to Cohen's decision.

Roberts writes: "Over the last several months Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved new homophobic laws for his country. Yes, laws that criminalize and stigmatize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in Russia.

"So people may wonder: 'Thomas, how can you accept this assignment? Shouldn’t you boycott Russia?' I am not going to boycott. Boycotting and vilifying from the outside is too easy. Rather, I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay."

He adds: "I go to prove there's hope."

thomas roberts msnbc.pngThomas Roberts

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Even Honey Is Crying Boo Hoo: After 10 Years, TLC's Longest-Running Prime-Time Series Ends Tonight. Can You Guess What Show It Is?

Tonight, Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, the longest-running prime-time series on TLC ends with a two-hour finale starting at 9 p.m. ET.

It's a reality show that never drew the critical huzzahs of shows such as "Breaking Bad" or "Homeland," but it was one of TV's seminal shows in its genre.

The program is "What Not to Wear," which premiered on TLC in 2003 and has subsequently made its two co-hosts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, household names. These days most people would likely say that TLC's signature show is "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

Tonight's "What Not to Wear" finale finds London and Kelly "in Las Vegas for a big finale farewell party with a ton of their past makeover subjects. On the way from New York to Sin City, the snarky duo stops to catch up with a few other contributors, giving loyal viewers a nice 'how do they look now' follow-up," according to The Huffington Post.    

stacy london clinton kelly.jpgStacy London and Clinton Kelly

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Fox's 'Glee' Coming to an End

The co-creator of Fox's "Glee" has revealed plans to end the series, Us Weekly reports. Ryan Murphy told reporters Wednesday in L.A. that the musical series will end its run next year after six seasons.

The end of the show appears to be linked to the death of Cory Monteith, one of its stars.

"After the emotional memorial episode for Monteith and his character Finn Hudson aired last week, Murphy said it's been very difficult to move on with the show," the story reports.

Talking about Monteith's death July 13 due to an overdose of heroin and alcohol, Murphy said: "It's really f--king hard. It's hard. It's hard every day. It's hard in the writer's room. It's hard on the set. It just feels like ... it's hard too because we're getting ready to wrap up a series. We're going to do one more year and that's it. So the last scene and the last stories were always very Cory heavy."

Murphy also talked about changes in store for the character Rachel, Finn's love interest on the series, played by Lea Michele.

Said Murphy: "Well, you know, it's very sad. I just said the whole end year of the show, which will be next year, was designed really around Rachel/Cory, Finn story. I mean I always knew that. I knew how that would end. I knew what the last shot was -- he was in it. I knew what the last line was -- she said it to him. So when a tragedy happens you sort of have to pause and figure out what else you want to do, so we're figuring that out now. I have a good idea. I'm going in, in like a week, to tell the studio and the network how after Cory's unfortunate passing we can end the show, which I think is very satisfactory and kind of an end in his honor -- which I love."

Murphy also noted that in tonight's episode the show will lighten up after the heaviness of the Finn tribute.

"The episode is called 'A Katy or a Gaga' and it's sort of about the kids trying to figure out who they are as artists," Murphy said. "So it's fun in that way. I love both those artists [Katy Perry and Lady Gaga]. We've used them for many, many years on the show and they were very gracious to give us their stuff. After the memorial episode, I wanted to do something that was maybe a little more inspirational because that was so hard on the cast. So we did something that's a lot of costumes, a lot of great set pieces."

ryan murphy.jpgRyan Murphy

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NBC Drama Continues to Sink; Three Other Nets Tie for No. 1

A drama series that was considered to be a hit for NBC continues to be headed in the wrong direction in the ratings, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that "Revolution" sank to a series low Wednesday night, shedding 7% of its audience from a week earlier to notch a 1.4 average rating in viewers 18-49. NBC finished fourth for the night, well off the pace, with Fox, ABC and CBS all tied for first place.

NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" was up, climbing 6% from last week to a 1.7 average in 18-49, and "Ironside" matched the 1.1 it delivered last week while finishing third in the 10 p.m. hour.

The top show of the night was ABC's "Modern Family" with a 4.0 average in adults 18-49, ticking up 3% from a week ago. The network's special "Toy Story of TERROR!" came through with a 3.0, 27% better than what "The Middle" recorded in the time slot last week.

The rest of the ABC lineup had mixed results: "Back in the Game" matched last week's 1.8 average in 18-49, "Super Fun Night" lost 16% for a 2.1 average, and "Nashville" climbed 6% to a 1.6.

CBS kept pace with a 2.5 average for "Survivor" in the 18-49 demo, matching last week's performance, a 2.7 for "Criminal Minds," up 4%, and a 2.0 for "CSI," which bounced back from last week's series-low 1.9.

Fox carried the baseball playoffs, with its ALCS game between Detroit and Boston recording a preliminary 2.4 in viewers 18-49.

For prime time overall, Fox, ABC and CBS all finished with 2.4 averages in the 18-49 demo, followed by NBC with a 1.4 average and Univision with a 1.2. Total viewers went to CBS with 10.1 million, ahead of Fox (8.1 million), ABC (7.8 million), NBC (5.9 million) and Univision (3.1 million).

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Director Attacked During Film Shoot

A film director who has helmed a string of major features was attacked today while filming his latest movie, USA Today reports. Michael Bay was reportedly working in Hong Kong on the latest installment in the "Transformers" series when two men attacked him.

"Local police tell Reuters that two young men -- brothers -- approached Bay and the younger sibling demanded that he hand over nearly $13,000," the story reports. "According to local police, the older brother attacked Bay and then assaulted police who tried to intervene. Both brothers were arrested; the younger on suspicion of blackmail and assault and the elder on suspicion of assault."

Bay reportedly took to his blog to try to set the record straight about what happened.

The report quotes Bay writing on his blog: "Yes, the story is (sic) being passed around is not all true! Yes, some drugged up guys were being belligerent asses to my crew for hours in the morning of our first shoot day in Hong Kong. One guy rolled metal carts into some of my actors trying to shake us down for thousands of dollars to not play his loud music or hit us with bricks.

"Every vendor where we shot got paid a fair price for our inconvenience, but he wanted four times that amount. I personally told this man and his friends to forget it we were not going to let him extort us. He didn't like that answer. So an hour later he came by my crew as we were shooting, carrying a long air conditioner unit. He walked right up to me and tried to smack my face, but I ducked threw the air unit on the floor and pushed him away. That's when the security jumped on him. But it took seven big guys to subdue him. It was like a Zombie in Brad Pitt's movie 'World War Z' -- he lifted seven guys up and tried to bite them. He actually bit into one of the guards Nike shoe, insane. Thank god it was an Air Max, the bubble popped, but the toe was saved."

Bay adds: "Then it took fifteen Hong Kong cops in riot gear to deal with these punks. In all, four guys were arrested for assaulting the officers."

Bay suffered injuries to his face, according to a police spokesperson cited in the report. A representative for Bay, however, says the director was uninjured.

In a statement provided to The New York Times, a spokesperson for Bay said: "The director ducked and wrested the air conditioner from his attacker, preventing what could have been a serious accident. The company's security team quickly stepped in and subdued the assault. The police, who also scuffled with the assailant and two of his companions, ultimately arrested the three men. No one on the cast or crew was injured and the production immediately resumed filming without further incident."

Along with the "Transformers" series, Bay is known for directing "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor," among many other films.

michael bay.pngMichael Bay

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E! Orders Unscripted Series

E! Entertainment has ordered a new unscripted show that sounds as though it could be competing for the "Kardashians" and "Shahs of Sunset" audience. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the cable channel ordered "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills" to series, picking up eight episodes.

"The reality show will follow five well-funded L.A. friends who have already achieved 'social media infamy' by advertising their lifestyles on Instagram and Twitter," THR reports. "'Beverly Hills,' which has no relation to popular 'Tumblr Rich Kids of Instagram,' comes to E! from ITV Studios America in association with Leepson Bounds Entertainment."

E! programming and development executive VP Jeff Olde said: “These kids are larger-than-life personalities who are charismatic, shockingly wealthy and born into lifestyles that are outrageously spectacular. They live a fantasy life on a scale that you just can’t turn away from and then they document it all via social media. But at the core, I think viewers will be drawn into the fact that they are genuinely good friends who still have to navigate friendships, relationships and life -- but they get to do it all in luxury cars, yachts and private jets, which is really fun to watch.”

THR adds: "The cable network is clearly angling for a strong social component in the new series, as each of the five participants -- Dorothy Wang, Morgan Stewart, Brendan Fitzpatrick, Roxy Sowlaty, Jonny Drubel -- has linked Twitter and Instagram handles in the order announcement."

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Fox Veteran Becomes CEO of Hulu

A veteran Fox TV executive is the new chief executive officer of video streaming company Hulu, the Los Angeles Times reports. As expected, the company named Mike Hopkins to the post.

"Hopkins has served as president of distribution for Fox Networks since 2008. His appointment suggests that the companies that control Hulu may be interested in turning the popular service into a feature offered through cable and satellite distributors," the Times reports.

The story adds: "Such a move would expand Hulu's reach to consumers. It also would help the three media company owners of Hulu -- Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal -- preserve their lucrative business partnerships with pay TV distributors."

In a statement, Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, said: "Mike was simply the best candidate for the job. He has a strong understanding of programming, digital distribution and consumer behavior and a great vision for Hulu's next chapter."

The Times adds: "Hopkins succeeds Andy Forssell, who has served as Hulu's acting chief executive since March 2013. Forssell had led the company since the departure of Jason Kilar. Kilar was a fierce advocate of Hulu's playing a role in reinventing television, and that vision for the service often put him in conflict with its owners."

We reported last week that Hulu was close to picking Hopkins for the post.

Thumbnail image for mike hopkins.jpgMike Hopkins

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Why 'South Park' Didn't Make It to Air Last Night

Since "South Park" started 13 years ago, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have delivered their episodes to Comedy Central in the nick of time, but now the pair have blown a deadline for the first time, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

Comedy Central said South Park Studios lost power for three hours on Tuesday, leading to a missed deadline.

"From animation to rendering to editing and sound, all of their computers were down for hours and they were unable to finish episode 1704 ‘Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers’ in time for air tonight,” the network said in a statement Wednesday.

Wednesday night was the first time in the show's history that it failed to air a planned episode because of a missed deadline, the story says.

“It sucks to miss an air date but after all these years of tempting fate by delivering the show last minute, I guess it was bound to happen," Parker said in a statement.

Comedy Central instead aired a classic episode Wednesday, "Scott Tenorman Must Die."

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Trouble Behind the Scenes on HBO's Martin Scorsese-Mick Jagger Project

HBO's rock 'n' roll drama from Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winters has run into some turbulence behind the scenes, with the project jettisoning its showrunners, reports Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who were hired as showrunners in August, have left the project, in what Andreeva describes as a "mutual decision stemming from differences over the series’ creative direction."

Talks are being held with a potential new showrunner, the story adds.

"The untitled rock ‘n’ roll series, which 'Boardwalk Empire' executive producers Scorsese and Winter created with the Rolling Stones’ Jagger, has been in the works at HBO since 2010, moving on a slow track because of the principals’ busy schedules," Andreeva notes.

The project tracks a record executive in New York City and is set in 1977, when punk, disco and hip-hop -- along with cocaine -- took center stage. It does not yet have a formal green light, Andreeva reports.

martin scorsese.pngMartin Scorsese

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ABC Bumps Up Orders for Two Shows -- Even Though Neither One Is Setting the World on Fire With Its Ratings

ABC has given a confidence booster to a couple of shows that probably needed some good news. The network ordered three additional scripts apiece for its new Tuesday comedies "The Goldbergs" and "Trophy Wife," Deadline.com reports.

The order is called a "largely symbolic gesture," and it doesn't mean the network will pick up the extra episodes. Both shows hit low marks Tuesday night, with "The Goldbergs" earning a 1.6 and "Trophy Wife" pulling a 1.3 in adults 18-49.

Still, ABC is said to be encouraged by the buzz around "The Goldbergs" and its Live+3 bumps, and pleased by the creative direction of "Trophy Wife," the story says.

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Which Network and Which Show Are No. 1 Among Wealthy Young Adults?

Wealthy young adults have a favorite broadcast network. The Los Angeles Times' Company Town reports that the top network in the demo is the one airing "Modern Family," ABC.

ABC has a 3.41 rating among people in the 18-49 demographic with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more, the story says.

NBC is in second place, with a 3.05 rating, followed by CBS (2.98) and Fox (2.63). A ratings point represents 354,450 viewers, the story says.

ABC is also on top when it comes to 18- to 49-year-olds with household income of $150,000 or more. That's helped by "Modern Family," which is the most popular show with young, wealthy people.

CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" is in second place, the story says. Among the new fall shows, ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is the leader, followed by NBC's "The Blacklist."

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Coming Soon to the Channel That Brought You the Most-Watched Drama in Basic Cable History ... Arm Wrestling? Yes!

A basic cable channel that has been chalking up a string of ratings successes -- including the most-watched drama ever on basic cable -- rolled out plans to delve into an area where it hasn't been all that successful: reality TV.

The channel is AMC, whose "The Walking Dead" currently ranks as the all-time most-watched basic cable drama. Now AMC is hoping that it can break through in reality programming with a new series focused on arm wrestling.

The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that AMC placed an order for "King of Arms," which grapples with the world of competitive arm wrestling. The show will track members of five arm wrestling clubs, based in locations from Baton Rouge, La., to New York City.

Each of the program's 10 episodes will end with an arm wrestling match. The reality show comes from Matt Renner and Ethan Prochnik, the Emmy-winning producers of Discovery's "Deadliest Catch."

"As an added coup and a sign of confidence in the material, the show will premiere in the first quarter of next year, timed to the second half of 'The Walking Dead's' current season," the story says.

The report adds: "AMC is on a roll these days, having just concluded the much heralded series 'Breaking Bad,' announcing the two-part final season of 'Mad Men,' and launching the fourth season of 'The Walking Dead,' which currently stands as the most-watched drama in basic cable history."

The piece notes that unlike rivals A&E and History, AMC has not fared particularly well in the reality genre.

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Emmy Winner Set to Play a Nun on CBS

An actress who won an Emmy for a role on ABC is set to return to broadcast TV -- on CBS this time. TheWrap.com reports that former "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera has been cast as a crusading nun in "Damascus," a project that has received a put-pilot commitment from CBS.

"Damascus" landed at CBS after a bidding war involving multiple networks, the story notes. Ferrera will play a nun who uses legal skills on behalf of social justice issues, helping the less fortunate.

Ferrera is also executive producing, along with former "Ugly Betty" executive producer Teri Weinberg, the story says. Ferrera won a Primetime Emmy in 2007 as outstanding lead actress in a comedy for "Ugly Betty," also winning a Golden Globe the same year.

america ferrera.jpgAmerica Ferrera

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'The O.C.' Star Opens Up About Her Breakdown

"The O.C." star Mischa Barton tells People magazine that her breakdown came after she was "under enormous pressure."

As a 17-year-old, Barton said her belief system was "work hard, play hard." She was arrested for DUI in 2007 and in 2009, she blacked out after taking a sedative. She ended up in a psych ward in an involuntary 5150 hold after threatening suicide, the story notes.

"It was a full-on breakdown," she told the publication.

She criticizes people who talk about her weight, with early comments focusing on how thin she was. Now, some are making comments about her weight gain.

"It was always, 'She's too skinny, she must be sick,'" Barton, 27, said. "Then it was, 'She's too big.' I was never the right weight."

Barton recently taped a TV pilot called "The Gutsy Frog," in which she plays a schoolteacher.

mischa barton.pngMischa Barton

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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' Gains Three New Cast Members

After losing one cast member, Bravo's reality show "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" has gained three new ones, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports. The cast additions come after longtime star Caroline Manzo revealed she's leaving the program.

The new cast members are twin sisters Nicole and Teresa Napolitano and their friend Amber Marchese. They'll join the show in its sixth season.

Manzo plans to work on a pilot for Bravo called "Manzo'd with Children," which she wrote will "give the viewers a very different look into the world of the Manzo family."

There's some speculation that additional changes are in store, the piece notes. It has been rumored that Jacqueline Laurita, who has been with the show from the start, may also be leaving, while some speculate that Dina Manzo, Caroline Manzo's sister and another original star, will return, the story says.

dina manzo.jpgDina Manzo

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The Future of 'Sherlock': Season Three Is in the Queue, But What About Season Four?

While the third season of the British drama "Sherlock" doesn't even have an air date, co-creator Steven Moffat tells the U.K.'s Radio Times that the show's stars have already commissioned a fourth season.

"We had to inform the BBC that Martin [Freeman] and Benedict [Cumberbatch] had commissioned a new series," Moffat said. "They signed themselves up. They both announced that they were carrying on -- so that’s good. Benedict, at some red carpet event somewhere, said he was carrying on forever. Martin, at another one, said, ‘Yep, series four is happening’."

Moffat said he's confident that the BBC will agree to a fourth season.

"But I assume that unless we've really screwed up 'Sherlock' [series three] -- which we haven't -- it's a big success and it will carry on, so long as Benedict and Martin want to do it."

The series airs on PBS in the U.S., as part of "Masterpiece."

Moffat said he wasn't sure when the third season would air, but he "would place good money on it being at the very end or very beginning of the year."

Benedict Cumberbatch Martin Freeman.jpgBenedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman

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TWC Welcomes Back Cable Network It Dumped Due to Lack of Viewers

Time Warner Cable is adding back a cable network the pay-TV operator dumped at the start of the year after complaining that the channel didn't attract enough viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The cable network is Ovation.

"Under the new deal, Ovation has committed to delivering at least 200 additional hours of original programming per year dedicated to the arts. And by 2015, Ovation says it will add at least 250 hours per year of original programing, which will grow to 300 hours for subsequent years of the new contract," the story says.

Ovation has also created an in-house studio. The network will return to Time Warner Cable on Jan. 1, 2014.

"After losing carriage on TWC, we never stopped listening to what they had to say, and responded to it,” said Ovation Chief Operating Officer Chad Gutstein, according to the story. "Our new ‘Art Everywhere’ branding is a reflection of that. We were intent on restoring Time Warner Cable's belief in Ovation."

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Fox Buys Period Project Set in Hawaii

Fox has given a put pilot commitment to a new drama project set in Hawaii, Deadline.com reports. The show takes place in 1957, two years before the islands, known then as the Territory of Hawaii, became the 50th state.

Co-written by Shawn Ryan and Davey Holmes, the project will be directed by Justin Lin of "The Fast & the Furious." The drama tracks a Hawaiian hustler who vows to get revenge on the island's most powerful man after his brother is murdered, the story says.

Ryan and Holmes previously worked on Fox's "The Chicago Code."

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Why Did One of Twitter's Brightest Lights -- at Least Among the TV Crowd -- Bail Out?

Damon Lindelof, the former executive producer of "Lost," has left Twitter, even though he was considered one of the wittiest television people on the service, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

Lindelof declined to comment to the Times.

"It's possible that the longtime TV veteran was smarting over some nasty digs that fans made on Twitter recently that compared the finale of 'Lost' unfavorably with that of AMC's 'Breaking Bad,'" the story notes.

For example, one Twitter writer wrote, "That's how you end a series," directing the tweet to Lindelof and his producing partner, Carlton Cuse.

The story adds, "Until Lindelof breaks his silence, we'll never know exactly why he left so suddenly. But if he was expecting his move to silence the haters, no such luck." One Twitter user wrote, "THAT'S how @DamonLindelof ends his run on Twitter? Gotta say, I'm underwhelmed and angry. I bet he didn't have that planned from the start."

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One of the Best and Most Recognizable Character Actors on TV and in the Movies in the Last 40 Years Dies at Age 74

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ed lauter.jpgHe was one of the best and most recognizable character actors of the last 40 years. Ed Lauter, 74, has died.

"Lauter discovered in May that he had contracted mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos, publicist Edward Lozzi told The Hollywood Reporter," the trade publication reports.

The article says "Most recently, Lauter had recurring roles on the Showtime drama 'Shameless' as Dick Healey and on USA Network’s 'Pysch' as Deputy Commissioner Ed Dykstra. Earlier, he [had a recurring role] on 'ER,' playing Fire Captain Dannaker.

"A native of Long Beach, N.Y., Lauter made his TV debut on a 1971 episode of 'Mannix' and arrived on the big screen for the first time in the Western 'Dirty Little Billy' (1972). He is listed with an incredible 204 acting credits on IMDb."

The Reporter also notes that Lauter "played the butler of Berenice Bejo’s character Peppy in the best-picture Oscar winner 'The Artist.' "

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Zombie TV Drama, Thought Dead and Buried, Has Become Undead

A zombie TV drama that was once made into a pilot and then killed without being picked up, has been resurrected, reports our friend Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

Long before AMC’s smash hit "The Walking Dead," there was "the 2007 CBS/20th Century Fox TV pilot 'Babylon Fields,' " writes Andreeva.

With the huge popularity of "The Walking Dead," it's not surprising that there is interest once again in "Babylon Fields."

According to Andreeva's story, " 'Babylon Fields' is getting a second chance," this time at NBC, which has ordered a new pilot of the show.

The first time around the show was from Michael Cuesta, Gerald Cuesta and Michael Atkinson, [and was] about a town’s residents coming back from the dead," the story notes.

The article continues, "The Cuesta brothers and Atkinson are back in their original roles as writers (Gerald Cuesta, Atkinson) and director (Michael Cuesta). The three will executive produce for 20th Century Fox TV. As part of the new pilot order, Michael Cuesta has inked a two-year overall deal with the studio."

Andreeva writes, "While pilots come and go, very few have had the staying power of the original  'Babylon Fields.' Clips and the entire pilot surfaced online soon after it got the pass by CBS."

One of those who helped spread the word about 'Babylon Fields" at the time was then TVWeek TV reporter James Hibberd, who, in one classic article, began his TVWeek story with the line "Zombie sex on CBS."

We aren't sure what happened to the video clips that accompanied Hibberd's article at the time, but if you click on the video below you'll see the complete unsold 2007 pilot of "Babylon Fields."

Babylon Fields [2007][Unsold Pilot] by UnknownArchiveTV more »

Reality TV Personality Dies Suddenly at 26

A man who was featured on a reality television series died suddenly Saturday at 26, MTV News reports. The story says Michael Fortunato, who was seen on MTV's "Catfish" show, died from a pulmonary embolism.

"An autopsy has yet to be released, but Mike's younger sister, Gena, confirmed the death to MTV News Monday night. A spokesperson for the Farmington, Connecticut, chief medical examiner's office told MTV News that Fortunato died at Hartford Hospital as a result of a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis," the story reports.

Fortunato was featured in the "Ashley and Mike" episode from the show's second season, when he met 20-year-old Ashley Sawyer for the first time after talking online for years.

An MTV spokesperson released a statement saying: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Michael Fortunato. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."

"Sawyer, who also opened up about his death, said Mike texted her early Saturday morning saying he was considering going to the hospital, but later wrote that he changed his mind," the story reports.

The report adds: "His sister Gena, 21, tells MTV News that Fortunato left his Connecticut workplace early to drive himself to the hospital, but swerved and hit a fence en route. When the paramedics arrived at the scene they transported him to the hospital for treatment. Two hours later, Gena said she got the call from her mom that Mike had died."

Gena said of her big brother: "He was a little kid at heart -- a gentle giant. He's somebody who put everybody before himself; everybody else came before him. The biggest heart that you'd ever meet."

Sawyer expressed similar sentiments, saying: "He would give anybody the last shirt he had -- anything. He would put his life on hold just to make sure other people moved forward. He always put people first."

michael fortunato.pngMichael Fortunato

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Nielsen Follows Up After MSNBC Boss Complains About Fox News Ratings -- Here's What It Found Out

After MSNBC President Phil Griffin complained about a surge in ratings for Megyn Kelly's new show on Fox News Channel, Nielsen looked into the numbers and found that the numbers held up, reports the New York Daily News.

"The investigation has revealed that the numbers for Kelly are accurate," the story reports.

As previously reported, Griffin asked for an investigation after noting what he called an "impossible" surge in ratings for "The Kelly File," which outpaced his network's "Rachel Maddow Show."

phil griffin.pngPhil Griffin

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'Community' Star's 'Bizarre Instagram Confession': Fears, Loneliness, Masturbation Fantasies ... and Why He Left the Show

"Community" actor Donald Glover posted a series of what was described as "odd and slightly troubling Instagram photos" in a report by TheWrap.com.

The messages in the photos, written entirely on Marriott stationery, talk about why the actor is leaving the NBC show and delve into his fears, masturbation fantasies and other highly personal thoughts.

"I didn’t leave ‘Community’ to rap. I don’t wanna rap. I wanted to be on my own,” Glover says in the messages, posted Monday. He reportedly sent out a total of seven messages.

The 30-year-old actor expresses a number of fears in the notes, including fears about how other people perceive him.

“I’m afraid my show will fail,” he writes, referring to the FX show "Atlanta." "I'm afraid Dan Harmon hates me," he adds, referring to the creator of "Community."

Glover scaled back his work on the NBC sitcom to appear in five of the show's 13 episodes during the upcoming fifth season, the report notes. In one of the Instagram notes he says "I'm afraid I'll regret this," possibly a reference to his move away from the show and his new focus on music -- although it could also be interpreted as a reference to his Instagram confessions.

"His next album under his stage name of Childish Gambino, 'Because the Internet,' is scheduled to be released in late December, though Glover noted that there was significant resistance from his record label about the timing," TheWrap reports, citing an Instagram message saying: “The label doesn’t want me to release in December cause it’s not a holiday record and I’m not a big artist.”

In what the report calls "a crack in at another actor-musician who apparently represents everything that Glover does not want his career to be," Glover adds: “I’m scared I’ll be Tyrese.”

In one of the messages, Glover writes, "I'm afraid people hate who I really am, I'm afraid I hate who I really am, I'm scared people will find out what I masturbate to." In another note he says, "I'm scared my girl will get pregnant at not the exact time we want," and, "I'm afraid she's still in love w/that dude."

donald glover instagram 101613.jpgDonald Glover Instagram message

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Why Some TV Characters Never Change Their Outfits

It's something that television viewers might never notice: the tendency for some characters to wear basically identical outfits week after week, reports EW.com's James Hibberd.

Take Ichabod Crane on Fox's "Sleepy Hollow," a character who woke up from a 200-year sleep and still wears the same earth-tone clothes in every episode.

"But fans are already asking if Ichabod is ever going to change into something a bit more 21st century -- or even 19th century. Ichabod is impressed by donuts and hair dryers, why not blow his mind with a pair of comfy Lucky Brand jeans?" Hibberd writes.

The reason Crane is kept in the same outfit is to remind the audience that he's from another time, Hibberd reports.

"It’s like his security blanket,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman told the publication. “He can never feel comfortable in our world. The minute he gets comfortable, the show is over.”

Another example is Patrick Jane on "The Mentalist," who wears a similar-looking three-piece suit on the show.

"Creator Bruno Heller once told me that Jane is so haunted by the death of his wife and daughter that he remains stuck in that moment and therefore keeps wearing the same suit from his psychic-charlatan days (there are actually two that look similar; both shades of blue, bringing out Simon Baker’s eyes)," Hibberd writes.

Sometimes the unchanging wardrobe is meant to illustrate a point about a society, rather than a character. Take the cast of NBC's "Revolution."

"The gang is wandering the country 15 years after electricity was cut off and there are no zombies to radically reduce the population. All the manufactured clothing has presumably been snatched up," the story points out.

Of course, there's another problem with television characters' wardrobes, Hibberd writes: "There is an opposite trope to The League of Eternal Outfits that may be even more common: The Alliance of Unlimited Wardrobes -- characters who never wear the same outfit twice."

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Unveils List of 2014 Nominees -- Only One Band Makes the List in Its First Year of Eligibility; Here's the Full List

Nominees have been unveiled for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, and USA Today reports that only one band -- grunge rockers Nirvana -- made this year's list in its first year of eligibility.

Among the other artists making the list this time around are first-time nominees Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates and Yes.

"Also on the ballot are returning favorites from last year such as Chic, Deep Purple and The Meters, along with hip-hop luminaries N.W.A. and LL Cool J," the story reports.

The report adds: "It's a diverse field, one that will likely see fan support swell behind beloved acts such as Kiss and Nirvana, and spark debates over the inclusion of Chic and Hall & Oates, who may not seem like textbook examples of rock artists."

Said Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation: "This year's nominees represent the broad definition of 'rock 'n' roll' and include an array of artists whose fans are deeply passionate about the possibility of induction."

The public can take part in the selection process by voting online through Dec. 10 via USA Today, Rolling Stone, and the official Rock Hall site.

"An artist or band becomes eligible for a nomination 25 years after releasing a debut single or album, meaning that the 2014 nominees released their first recording no later than 1988," the report notes, adding: "Inductees will be determined by the hall's voting body of roughly 600 artists, historians and music industry professionals. The performers who receive the highest number of votes will be inducted April 10 in New York. The ceremony will be broadcast on HBO at a later date."

The full list of 16 nominees:

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Deep Purple
Peter Gabriel
Hall and Oates
LL Cool J
The Meters
The Replacements
Linda Ronstadt
Cat Stevens
Link Wray
The Zombies

Here's a video report:

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With a Diversity Controversy Swirling Around 'SNL,' the Show Names an African-American Woman as Host

One day after "Saturday Night Live" cast member Kenan Thompson made headlines talking about why the show has no African-American women in the cast, NBC revealed that the guest host for an upcoming installment of the sketch comedy show will be an African-American woman: Kerry Washington.

"The 'Scandal' star is hosting the NBC late-night show on Nov. 2, with Eminem as musical guest," CBS News reports. "It will be Washington's 'SNL' debut and the sixth appearance on the show for the rapper. He is promoting his new album 'The Marshall Mathers LP 2,' which comes out Nov. 5."

Thompson addressed the show's diversity issues in an interview with TV Guide, focusing in particular on the absence of African-American women from the lineup. The show has had only four in its history, and none since Maya Rudolph left in 2007, the report notes.

CBS News adds: "The week before Washington hosts, another star will take on hosting duties for his first time. Edward Norton will host the show on Oct. 26, with musical guest (and fellow 'SNL' first-timer) Janelle Monae."

kerry washington.pngKerry Washington

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Weak Season Opener for NBC Franchise Show; ABC Freshman Sinks to Series Low

An NBC franchise series saw its viewer numbers drop significantly for its season premiere Tuesday night, but the network got a strong performance out of another franchise show to squeeze out a narrow win for the night over CBS, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the one-hour season opener of "The Biggest Loser" settled for a 2.2 average in viewers 18-49, finishing third in the 8 p.m. hour behind CBS's "NCIS" (3.0 average, up 7% from a week ago) and ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (2.7 average, down 7%). The "Loser" premiere's number was down 27% from the two-hour premiere one season ago, when the show premiered on a Sunday.

But "The Voice" came through for NBC, delivering a 3.9 average in the 18-49 demo to rank as the top show of the night among the broadcast networks. That number was up 30% over a clip show that aired last week, but down 13% from the previous Tuesday night original.

"Chicago Fire" wrapped up prime time for NBC by winning the 10 p.m. hour with a 2.4 average in 18-49, a 14% improvement on last week.

Following "NCIS," CBS aired the 100th episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles," which matched last week's 2.6 average in viewers 18-49. "Person of Interest" bounced back a little from last week's series low, rising 5% to a 2.1.

Leading out from "Marvel's Agents," ABC's freshman series "The Goldbergs" sank 16% to a new series low, a 1.6 average rating in adults 18-49. "Trophy Wife" shed 7% of last week's average to notch a 1.3, and ABC closed things out with a repeat of "Scandal" (0.7 average).

Fourth-place Fox had mixed results, with "Dads" up 8% from a week ago to a 1.4 in 18-49, "New Girl" down 14% to a 1.8 and both "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (1.5 average) and "The Mindy Project" (1.4) equaling their numbers from a week ago.

For prime time overall, NBC led the broadcast networks with a 2.8 average in adults 18-49, followed by CBS (2.6 average), ABC (1.6), Fox (1.5) and Univision (1.1). CBS wound up with a big lead in total viewers, averaging 15.2 million to finish ahead of NBC (9.3 million), ABC (5.0 million), Fox (3.3 million) and Univision (3.0 million).

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Harry Belafonte Sues Family of Martin Luther King Jr.

Legendary singer, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte has filed a federal lawsuit against the three surviving children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., The New York Times reports.

The 86-year-old -- known for singing "The Banana Boat Song," with the trademark "Day-O" lyric -- was a close friend of King in the Civil Rights Movement era. Now he's caught up in a dispute with King's heirs over some of King's documents and other memorabilia.

"At issue are three documents that used to be in Mr. Belafonte’s collection of memorabilia, along with other photos and letters on the walls of his apartment, chronicling his long friendship with Dr. King," The Times reports. "Mr. Belafonte says the papers were given to him by Dr. King himself; by his widow, Coretta Scott King; and by Dr. King’s close aide Stanley Levison."

King’s heirs, Dexter, Bernice and Martin Luther King III, say the material belongs to King's estate and was taken without permission.

"Mr. Belafonte, who often supported the King family financially during the civil rights struggle, said the dispute pains him. He said in his view, Dr. King’s children had drifted away from their father’s values," the story reports.

Said Belafonte: “The papers are symbolic. It’s really about what happened to the children, and I feel that somewhere, in this one area, I really failed Martin.”

The report adds: "One of the documents is a three-page outline for Dr. King’s 1967 speech 'The Casualties of the War in Vietnam,' written on a legal pad in Mr. Belafonte’s New York apartment. The second is a letter of condolence from President Lyndon B. Johnson to Mrs. King. The third is an envelope Dr. King had in his pocket the day he was assassinated in 1968. On it he had scribbled notes for a speech he was to give in Memphis."

Belafonte made an attempt to sell the documents in an auction in 2008 -- a move that he says was an effort to raise money for charity.

"Before the sale could go forward, however, Dr. King’s estate challenged Mr. Belafonte’s ownership of the papers that same month, charging in a letter to Sotheby’s that they are 'part of a wrongfully acquired collection,'" the story reports. "Since then, the documents have been in limbo, sitting in the auction house’s storage vault while attempts to settle the dispute out of court have failed. Under state law, Sotheby’s faces liability to the actual owner if it releases property to the wrong party, and so has refused to return the documents to Mr. Belafonte until the dispute is settled."

Thumbnail image for harry belafonte.pngHarry Belafonte

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Ronan Farrow -- the Son of Mia Farrow and (Pick One: Woody Allen/Frank Sinatra) -- Locks In MSNBC Show

MSNBC announced today that Ronan Farrow will host a new one-hour program on the cable channel, with the show set to premiere in early 2014.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin made the announcement.

Said Griffin: “Ronan has established himself as a provocative, independent journalist capable of challenging people’s assumptions and empowering audiences. His show will be a game changer for MSNBC, representing a fresh approach to how we deliver news.”

The show has been the subject of development talks for several months. As we reported last week, Farrow has been closing in on a job at the cable channel, but it was previously thought that it might take longer for him to get his own show.

Farrow was in the news recently when his mother, actress Mia Farrow, revealed that Ronan's father might be Frank Sinatra -- not Woody Allen, as was widely believed.

Ronan Farrow, 25, said of his upcoming show: "This is a new generation of news show for a new, more engaged generation of viewers. It's a show about why the news matters to you -- and what you can do to be a part of the story. I’m excited to shake up people’s expectations for cable news. And to get a ton of Twitter followers.”

MSNBC noted in a press release: "Prior to joining MSNBC, Farrow was a foreign policy official in the first Obama administration. He founded the State Department’s Office of Global Youth Issues and reported to the Secretary of State as the United States' first Special Adviser for Global Youth during the Arab Spring revolutions. He also served for two years as a U.S. diplomat focused on the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

ronan farrow.pngRonan Farrow

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Broadcasters Get an Earful From Barry Diller, Who Receives Industry Honor Even Though 'Many People in This Room Are Suing Me'

Veteran media executive and IAC chief Barry Diller took the spotlight today at a New York ceremony for the Library of American Broadcasting’s “Giants of Broadcasting” awards and cut to the chase, commenting on his association with Aereo, the subject of a lawsuit filed by a number of broadcasters, Deadline.com reports.

Most of the people in the audience see the streaming service as a threat to broadcasters, and many consider it illegal, the report notes.

Diller, one of 11 people honored at the event, told the attendees: “It’s especially nice that I get this honor when many people in this room are suing me." He then joked, "After you’re accused of stealing a few times, you get a little sensitive.”

"The former ABC exec, and creator of Fox Broadcasting, gently chided broadcasters as they demand rising fees from cable and satellite companies that retransmit their signals -- and threaten to pull their best shows from the airwaves if courts support Aereo, which streams their programming without their permission," the report notes.

The piece adds: “'I always believed broadcasters should have a second revenue stream' in addition to advertising, Diller said. But they need to be sensitive to the fact that 'there are people who can’t afford cable or satellite.' He added that he’s glad he became a broadcaster years ago when it was clear that the industry should support the public interest -- 'values that were separate from competition, separate from business.' Still, he says, local broadcasting will endure and TV stations are 'one of the great buys.'”

Among the other honorees, the piece notes, were David E. Kelley, Dick Cavett, BET founder Robert Johnson and Disney/ABC's Anne Sweeney.

barry diller.jpgBarry Diller

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Los Angeles to Waive Fees for TV Pilots

An ordinance that will waive fees on television pilots is close to becoming reality, with the Los Angeles City Council approving the measure Tuesday, Daily Variety reports.

Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to sign the ordinance, according to a spokesman. That's not surprising, given that he introduced the measure last year, the piece notes.

"Garcetti has said that the fee waiver and other steps are necessary to smooth production headaches, even if the production incentives offered by the state are a much greater enticement," the story says.

During the 2012-13 season, 96 out of 186 pilots were taped in the Los Angeles area, with FilmLA noting that the city is losing market share when it comes to drama series production.

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Zooey Deschanel Sells Projects to Fox and NBC

"New Girl" star Zooey Deschanel has sold comedy projects to Fox and NBC under her deal with 20th Century Fox TV, reports Deadline.com.

With her producing partner Rivka Sophia Rossi, Deschanel has sold a project based on the nonfiction book "Pitch Perfect" to Fox. Called "Freelancers," and written by "Pitch Perfect" author Mickey Rapkin, the project is about a lawyer who has to start over after getting fired and finding himself single.

The NBC project, "And Lies I Tell My Daughter," is based on a column by Julia Obst called "Hellogiggles." The project is written by Deb Schoeneman of "Girls" and is about a mom who finds that honesty isn't always the best route.

zooey deschanel.pngZooey Deschanel

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'Under the Dome' Executive Producer Re-Ups With CBS

"Under the Dome" executive producer and showrunner Neal Baer has signed a new two-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios, Deadline.com reports.

Baer will continue in his role on the CBS hit, while also working on new projects. He has a sale pending and has already sold the drama "The Three Behrs" to CBS. "Behrs" is about three doctors who are strangers until they start working together and realize they are brothers, the story says.

Baer, a pediatrician, is returning to medical dramas with the project. He started out on "ER," where he rose from a staff writer to executive producer.

neal-baer.jpgNeal Baer

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HBO Developing Comedian's One-Man Show

HBO is working with a well-known multi-hyphenate comedian on a special showcasing his one-man show "Ghetto Klown," Deadline.com reports. The comedian is Colombian-born John Leguizamo, who is also an actor, producer and screenwriter.

The project marks a return to HBO for the comedian after an 11-year break, and will be his fifth one-man show for HBO. The others include "Mambo Mouth" from 1991 and "Sexaholic … A Love Story" from 2002.

"Ghetto Klown" is about his climb to stardom, and is based on his memoir "Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, And All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends." Fisher Stevens, who directed the 2012 Broadway production of the show, will also direct the HBO project.

john leguizamo.pngJohn Leguizamo

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On With the Show: Liza Performs With Serious Injury, Swings by the Hospital After the Gig

Liza Minnelli continued to perform, appearing at an Actors Fund benefit for breast cancer on Monday, even after she had broken her wrist in three places just a day earlier, reports the New York Post's Page Six.

Doctors had advised her to skip the event, but she went on with the show, which featured her appearing with her half-sister Lorna Luft. It was the first time the two had appeared on stage together since 1993, the piece adds.

Minnelli went to the hospital for surgery after the performance.

Thumbnail image for liza minnelli.pngLiza Minnelli

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Who's TV's Highest-Paid Actor? Here's the Top 10

A new list is out from Forbes magazine of television's highest-paid actors, and at the top of the list is a man who stepped in to bring stability to a hit show after a turbulent period: Ashton Kutcher, who became the star of CBS's "Two and a Half Men" following former star Charlie Sheen's high-profile meltdown in 2011.

Kutcher reportedly made $24 million between June 2012 and June 2013 to top the list. "During the first week of the new television season, 11.6 million people tuned in to watch 'Two and a Half Men' on CBS," Forbes reports. "Those numbers are way down from the show’s peak of 28 million viewers when star Ashton Kutcher stepped in for the ousted Charlie Sheen. It’s also fewer people than watched the new 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and almost 10 million fewer than watched 'NCIS,' according to Horizon Media.

"But it’s still solid ratings for a show that is already in syndication (which is where the real money is made). Producer Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. TV likely have no regrets about hiring Kutcher to replace Sheen."

Kutcher's fortunes have been less spectacular on the big screen, however. "This summer Kutcher starred as Steve Jobs in a biopic about the Apple founder’s life. The film may have generated plenty of buzz but that didn’t translate to success at the box office. 'Jobs' earned only $16 million," Forbes reports. "Kutcher can absorb the blow. He’ll earn even more as his episodes of 'Two and a Half Men' go into syndication, and there’s no reason for CBS to cancel the cash cow anytime soon."

The show's other stars also made the list: Jon Cryer comes in second with $21 million and Angus Jones places seventh with $11 million.

"However, this is likely to be Jones’ last year on our list," Forbes notes. "The 19-year-old is no longer a regular on the show after a video went viral of Jones calling the show filth and telling people to stop watching. He was recently replaced by Amber Tamblyn, who plays Charlie Sheen’s character’s long-lost daughter. He’ll still earn from the show’s lucrative syndication, though."

Ray Romano comes in third on the list with $16 million. Mark Harmon and Neil Patrick Harris round out the top five, tying with $15 million apiece.

The rest of the top 10: Patrick Dempsey, $13 million; Tim Allen, $11 million; Angus T. Jones, $11 million; Michael C. Hall, $10 million; Charlie Sheen, $10 million.

Thumbnail image for ashton-kutcher.jpgAshton Kutcher

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Pop Superstar Working With Muppets on ABC Holiday Special

One of the top stars of pop music has an ABC holiday special in the works featuring the Muppets. E! Online reports that Lady Gaga is working on the project, with the details being kept secret.

The show was taped in Los Angeles, the story notes.

The singer has a history with the Muppets, including taking Kermit the Frog as her date for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and once wearing an outfit made from Kermit toys. The outfit was meant to be a statement protesting wearing fur.

Thumbnail image for lady-gaga.pngLady Gaga

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NBCU Shakes Up Sales Division, Combines Cable and Broadcast

NBCUniversal today rolled out a new structure for its sales division that places an emphasis on combining sales for its wide-ranging assets, including the NBC broadcast network, B&C reports.

"Linda Yaccarino, who was named president of sales for all of NBCUniversal in September 2012, emphasized selling NBCU's broadcast, cable and digital assets as a unified portfolio during the 2013-14 upfront, a strategy that was largely praised by agency buyers and clients," the story reports. "NBC's prime-time sales in the upfront gained 13%. The new organization is designed to push that approach further, with an expanded Client Solutions Group that will help create marketing and sponsorship programs for advertisers."

In a statement, Yaccarino said: "In an effort to maximize the power and potential of our portfolio, now we are putting in place the strategic leaders who will continue to position us for growth and provide opportunities for our customers like no other media company can. In a world of growing fragmentation and as scale has become more and more elusive, we've clustered our networks to capitalize on the strength of our assets. Also, I'm excited to expand our creative marketing offerings by developing a new center of marketing excellence and innovation for our clients."

B&C adds: "Yaccarino has created four groups of programming assets: Entertainment, Live Programming, Lifestyle and Digital Video. Each group is headed by an executive VP who reports directly to Yaccarino, whose sales group reports directly and independently to NBCU CEO Steve Burke."

The Entertainment group will be led by Dan Lovinger, who was promoted to executive VP. He was previously responsible for sales of Spanish-language properties and some NBCU cable nets. His new group includes the large-reach networks, such as NBC, USA, Syfy and WWE, the piece notes.

"Among those reporting to Lovinger is Jim Hoffman, who has been in charge of NBC broadcast sales," the report notes. "Shari Post, head of prime-time sales, daytime and late-night for NBC, continues to report to Hoffman."

The piece adds: "Combining NBC and cable networks in a group makes NBCU's approach different from other media companies. Before joining NBC, Yaccarino spent most of her career at Turner Broadcasting, which aimed to convince advertisers to shift money from broadcast to cable."

Seth Winter received a promotion to executive VP and will head the Live Programming group, which includes sports and news. He previously was in charge of sales for NBC Sports Group. Mark Miller, who leads news sales, will report to Winter.

"Laura Molen, who had been responsible for some ad sales for some of the cable networks, has been promoted to executive VP and will be in charge of the Lifestyle group, which includes Bravo, Oxygen, E!, Esquire, Cloo and Chiller," the report adds. "Scott Schiller expands his role as executive VP, digital ad sales to oversee NBC News Group's digital sales on an interim basis, as well as Digital Entertainment ad sales."

Promoted to executive VP of the Client Solutions Group was Alison Tarrant, who reports to Yaccarino. Tarrant will lead sales marketing for NBCU networks and properties, overseeing the integration of the networks' sales marketing teams into the Client Solutions Group, the report notes.

"Working with the Client Solutions Group, John Shea continues as chief marketing officer," the report adds. "Shea leads a new content innovation and creative marketing team."

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'SNL' Regular on Why the Show Has No African-American Women in the Cast

One of the regulars on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" offered an opinion on why the show seems to have a hard time finding African-American women to be cast members. TVGuide.com reports that Kenan Thompson essentially said there aren't any funny ones to be found.

"When 'Saturday Night Live' announced this season's six new cast members, many were shocked to see that the sketch comedy show would be devoid of a black female cast member for the sixth year in a row," Sadie Gennis writes on the website. "In a world where we have a black first lady and pop culture is defined by Scandal, Rihanna, Oprah, Nicki Minaj and Beyonce, this is beyond absurd. It's downright embarrassing."

The piece points out that Thompson himself has played a series of black female celebrities, such as Mo'Nique, Maya Angelou and Jennifer Hudson.

"When asked what the show would do now when confronted with potential black female characters or celebrity spoofs, Thompson told TVGuide.com, 'I don't know. We just haven't done them. That's what I'm saying. Maybe [Jay Pharaoh] will do it or something, but even he doesn't really want to do it,'" the story reports.

Gennis adds: "Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, Pharaoh and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians."

Thompson is quoted in the piece saying: "It's just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."

Gennis writes: "While Thompson's refusal to help 'SNL' continue to ignore its own diversity issues is commendable, blaming the problem on an absence of talented black females only perpetuates the problem. There are countless brilliant black comediennes working right now, many of whom would likely be thrilled to take part in such an iconic series (even if the quality has slipped over the decades)."

The show has had only four black female cast members in its 38-year history, the piece notes, listing Yvonne Hudson (1980-81), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95) and Maya Rudolph (2000-2007).

"Of the four, only three were repertory players (Hudson was only a featured player before being fired midseason)," the report notes. "This means, there were large gaps in 'SNL's' history when there were no black women on the show at all."

Gennis adds: "Pharoah has recently spoken out about the series' diversity problem, telling theGrio, 'They need to pay attention' and add a black woman to the cast. Pharoah even suggested his pick, Darmirra Brunson, who's currently on Tyler Perry's Love They Neighbor. 'Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she's black first of all, and she's really talented. She's amazing. She needs to be on "SNL." I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year.'"

Thumbnail image for Kenan-Thompson.jpgKenan Thompson

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Veteran TV Writer With Credits Going Back to the Earliest Days of Television Dies

A veteran television writer with a list of credits going back to the earliest days of the medium has died. Deadline.com reports that Mann Rubin died over the weekend in West Hills, Calif., after a long illness. He was 86.

Rubin scripted episodes of dozens of series over his long career, going back to the pioneering shows "Studio One in Hollywood" and "Tales of Tomorrow." He continued to work regularly into the 1990s.

He started out writing for comic books and penning short stories for Alfred Hitchcock Magazine before segueing into television. His first TV writing job was for "Studio One in Hollywood," which went on the air in 1948 and was part of the first wave of popular TV shows.

Rubin later wrote for popular series including "The Six Million Dollar Man," "Starsky and Hutch" and "Knots Landing." He also taught screenwriting at USC, the report notes.

His other TV credits included "Perry Mason," "The Fugitive" and "Run for Your Life" in the 1960s, "The Rockford Files," "Mannix," "Ironside," "Baretta" and "The Bionic Woman" in the 1970s, "Dynasty" and "The Paper Chase" in the 1980s and "Dragnet" in the 1990s.

mann rubin.jpgMann Rubin

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NBC's Monday Night One-Two Punch Delivers Dominant Performance

NBC continued its stranglehold on the Monday night prime-time broadcast ratings last night, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo, with its two-hour "The Voice" complemented by another strong showing for its new drama series "The Blacklist."

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the two shows topped everything else on broadcast, with "The Voice" delivering a 4.5 average rating in viewers 18-49 to easily finish as the No. 1 show of the night -- even while slipping 2% from last week. The breakout hit "The Blacklist" was the No. 2 show, ticking up 3% to a 3.2.

The report cautions that a football pre-emption in Indianapolis could cause the numbers to be adjusted downward more than usual, but NBC finished with plenty of cushion over its closest rivals.

Second-place Fox was paced by its new drama "Sleepy Hollow," which dipped 7% from a week ago to a 2.6 average in 18-49, while "Bones" slipped 5% to a 2.0.

ABC saw its two-hour "Dancing with the Stars" improve slightly from last week, climbing 5% to a 2.1 average in the 18-49 demo. "Castle" also was up, surging 16% to a 2.2.

CBS came in fourth overall, paced by "How I Met Your Mother" with a 3.0 average in adults 18-49 -- equaling last week's number. "2 Broke Girls" made its time slot premiere at 8:30 and ticked up 9% from last week's series low to record a 2.5. "Mom" slipped 10% to a 1.9, while the struggling "Hostages" equaled its series low from a week ago, a 1.2 average.

NBC averaged a 4.0 in the 18-49 demo for prime time, easily outdistancing Fox (2.3 average), ABC (2.1), CBS (2.0) and Univision (1.4). The race for total viewers was much tighter, but NBC again finished on top with 13.0 million, ahead of ABC (12.2 million), Fox (7.3 million), CBS (7.0 million) and Univision (3.6 million).

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'Arrested Development' Actress Joins TV Land Comedy

An actress known for her role on "Arrested Development" is headed to TV Land, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Jessica Walter, who played the narcissistic Lucille Bluth on the cult comedy, has been cast in TV Land's comedy pilot "Jennifer Falls," the piece reports.

Walter will play Maggie, the narcissistic psychotherapist mother of Jennifer, who is played by Jaime Pressly of "My Name Is Earl." With her own daughter, Jennifer is forced to move back home with her mom after losing her job.

The pilot also co-stars Missi Pyle as Dina, Jennifer's best friend from childhood.

Before settling in on "Arrested Development," Walter had a series of high-profile feature roles including "Play Misty for Me" and "Grand Prix."

jessica walter.jpgJessica Walter

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Glenn Beck Attacks Bob Costas: 'You Sanctimonious Piece of Crap'

Glenn Beck attacked veteran NBC sportscaster Bob Costas, unleashing a verbal barrage after Costas aired a commentary that was critical of the Washington Redskins' team name, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

During Sunday's telecast of the NFL game between the Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, Costas pointed out that many people would be offended if a team was named after a nickname for an ethnic group. "Ask yourself what the equivalent [of Redskins] would be if directed toward African Americans, Hispanics, Asians or members of any other ethnic group," he said.

Beck "unloaded" on Costas on Monday, the Times notes.

"You sanctimonious piece of crap," Beck said. He also called Costas "senile" and "wildly arrogant."

"Why is it that all white people think they have to correct all the ills and protect everybody else?" Beck asked.

The battle between Beck and Costas' positions is part of a larger discussion about the team's name, with President Obama saying that he would think about changing the name if he owned the franchise, the piece points out.

Here's a clip of Costas' commentary:

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Broadcast Net Pares Back Female Masturbation Scene in Drama Series

A controversial scene that appeared in the original version of an episode of a broadcast drama has been pared back. EW.com's Inside TV reports that the CW's period drama "Reign," about a young Mary, Queen of Scots, downsized a masturbation scene that featured one of her ladies-in-waiting.

The website reports that the scene was included in an earlier version of the pilot that was seen by reporters. "But the final cut of the episode that was recently sent to critics and will air on the network this week has been toned down," the piece adds.

After watching a "bedding ceremony," one of Mary's teenage ladies "assures she’s alone in a secluded stairwell, hikes up her gown, reaches under and starts … yep. Her self-pleasure is unexpectedly interrupted by none other than the King of France (Alan van Sprang), who smugly offers his assistance ('May I?') and takes over," the story says.

"But now viewers see the barest suggestion of Kenna’s actions in a few quick shots, then [the] king’s hand snatches hers from her lap," the report notes. "The moment went from a clear 'I can’t believe they’re actually showing this' to 'Was she doing what I think she was doing?' It still might inspire an outraged Parents Television Council press release (what doesn’t?), but probably won’t result in parents watching the show with their kids actually having to have any awkward conversations."

reign cw ladies in waiting.pngMary's ladies in waiting on "Reign"

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Advice to the Advertising Community From an Unlikely Source: John Lennon

Perhaps only our very own TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross would tie John Lennon to Madison Ave. To read how Ross connects the dots, please click here.

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Big News on Who Will Host the Next TWO Golden Globes -- Fans of This Year's Ceremony Will Be Thrilled

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced today that it has lined up the hosts for the next two years for the Golden Globe Awards ceremony. This year's hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, have signed on to repeat as co-hosts in 2014 and 2015.

HFPA President Theo Kingma joined with ceremony producer dick clark productions and NBC to make the announcement. NBC is signed on to host both ceremonies, with the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards set to air live from the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 12, 2014.

Fey and Poehler, both alums of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," were a huge hit with their co-hosting of the 2013 Golden Globes, earning widespread praise from critics and being a part of a surge in viewership for the awards.

"The 2013 Golden Globes averaged a 6.4 rating, 15 share in adults 18-49 and 19.7 million viewers overall, for a year-to-year jump of 28% in 18-49 rating (to a 6.4 from a 5.0) and 17% or 2.8 million persons in total viewers (19.7 million vs. 16.9 million)," the HFPA said in today's announcement. "The 2013 telecast claimed the biggest Golden Globes results in six years in both 18-49 rating and total viewers (since Monday, Jan. 15, 2007, 6.5/15 in 18-49, 20.0 million viewers overall). It was also the second-highest-rated Golden Globes in nine years."

Fey, whose post-"SNL" career has been showcased largely on "30 Rock," is a two-time Golden Globe winner for her work on that show, while Poehler is a two-time Golden Globe nominee for "Parks and Recreation."

Please click here to read the full announcement from HFPA.

tina fey amy poehler.jpgTina Fey and Amy Poehler

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'Daily Show With Jon Stewart' Replaces Showrunner With Three Veterans

Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" has tapped three veterans as its new showrunners, replacing Rory Albanese, who left last week to take a prime-time comedy development role with Warner Bros. TV, Deadline.com reports.

The three are "Daily Show" co-executive producers Adam Lowitt, Jennifer Flanz and Steve Bodow.

"Lowitt, Flanz and Bodow, all multiple Emmy winners for their work on the show, are expected to be upped to executive producers," the piece notes. All three have worked on the show for several years, with Bodow working as a "Daily Show" writer for a decade.

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Original 'Real Housewives' Cast Member Bows Out

An original 'Real Housewives" cast member is leaving the show. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that original "Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast member Caroline Manzo is leaving the show after five seasons to tape a pilot for a spinoff.

Manzo said the pilot will offer a "very different look" at her family. The Bravo reality show is known for screaming matches and family fights, and is something Manzo "hopes her future grandchildren will never see," the story says.

The pilot is called "Manzo'd With Children."

caroline manzo.pngCaroline Manzo

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Other Than NFL Games, a Scripted Series Is Pulling In the Highest Ad Prices

A new report names the TV shows that command the highest advertising prices, and outside of the NFL, the highest rate is for a scripted show, CBS's "The Big Bang Theory. According to AdWeek, a 30-second spot on the show goes for $326,260.

The show about a group of science geeks tops NBC's singing competition "The Voice," which commands $264,575 for the Wednesday show, and ABC's "Modern Family," which receives $257,435 for a 30-second spot.

"The robust unit cost is a function of 'Big Bang’s' monster ratings -- three episodes into the fall season, Chuck Lorre’s sitcom is averaging 19.2 million viewers and a 5.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demo -- and its seemingly unstoppable growth," the story reports. "After posting full-season highs two years running, 'Big Bang’s' ratings are currently trending up 12 percent versus the 2012-13 campaign."

Still, the NFL gets the highest price for any program on television, with Fox's NFC games pulling $595,000 per 30-second ad. NBC's "Sunday Night Football," meanwhile, gets $570,000 per spot.

The most expensive new series is NBC's "The Blacklist," which receives $198,667. The priciest freshman comedy is CBS's "The Crazy Ones," which stars Robin Williams and is receiving $175,200 per 30-second ad, the story notes.

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NBC Buys Project Starring Academy Award Winner

NBC has given a pilot production commitment to a project featuring an Oscar-winning actress. EW.com's Inside TV reports that the comedy, "Growing Ivy," features Susan Sarandon and her daughter Eva Amurri Martino.

The project will also be written by Martino, along with Will McCormack. Martino's character is said to crave stability, something she lacked in her home life as a child, but later invites her eccentric mother to move in and work on their relationship.

Sarandon, who won an Oscar in 1996 for her lead role in "Dead Man Walking," will play the mom, Franckie.

"Growing Ivy" isn't the first time Sarandon and her daughter have worked together. They played a mother-daughter pair in 2002's "The Banger Sisters" and have appeared together on TV and in other features.

eva amurri martino.jpgEva Amurri Martino

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TNT Buys Series From Mark Burnett

"The Voice" producer Mark Burnett has sold a new series to TNT, according to TheWrap.com. The website reports that the show, a cooking competition, has the working title "On the Menu."

The new series has a 10-episode order, and follows sister network TBS's order for another reality show from Burnett, called, "Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host."

"On the Menu" is described as the first cooking competition show that will allow viewers to taste the dishes, the piece says. Each episode will track a different food business, such as dining chains and concession stands, which will then put the dishes on their menus.

“The winning dish will immediately go on the menu, giving viewers at home the chance to go try the dish the very next day," TNT said.

“We are excited to offer the viewer at home a unique opportunity to actually be part of our series,” Burnett said. “To be able to taste the winning dish the next day brings the series tangibly into the viewer’s own life experience.”

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Oscar Winner Writes Fan Letter to 'Breaking Bad' Star

An Oscar-winning actor wrote a gushing fan letter to "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston. The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that the letter was from Anthony Hopkins, who played Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs."

The letter was posted by Cranston on his Facebook page, but it was later removed, the story says. Hopkins' note was meant to be shared with the cast and crew.

"Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen -- ever," Hopkins wrote. "I know there is so much smoke blowing and sickening ... in this business, and I've sort of lost belief in anything really. But this work of yours is spectacular -- absolutely stunning."

Hopkins' Oscar-winning 1991 portrayal of Lecter was voted as the No. 1 movie villain by the American Film Institute.

anthony hopkins.jpgAnthony Hopkins

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Media Planning Guru Erwin Ephron Dead at 79

One of the most influential media consultants of the past 30 years has died. Advertising Age reports that media planning guru Erwin Ephron, known as the father of "recency," died Sunday at 79 following a long illness.

"After a long media career that included work at BBDO and his own agency Ephron, Raboy & Tsao, Mr. Ephron formed the consulting firm Ephron Papazian & Ephron in the early 1990s. He was honored by American Demographics Magazine in 2003 as one of the five most- influential media people of the past 25 years," the piece reports.

Ephron was a familiar figure at industry events, including speaking at a number of our own TVWeek Media Planning Conferences.

In 1995 he began putting forward the idea of "recency," making the case that ad impressions closest to the time of purchase are the most powerful. At the time the cornerstones of media planning were reach and frequency -- how many people ads reach, and how often those people are reached.

"It followed that reaching consumers at the right time -- when they're in the market to buy -- was key, as opposed to simply reaching them often," the Ad Age report says.

Ephron likened frequency to crabgrass, making the point that advertisers were driving people to avoid ads by carelessly inundating the same viewers with the same ads repeatedly.

He was known to poke fun at entire industries, telling Ad Age in 2004: "Looking for advertising effectiveness in package-goods is like the drunk looking for his keys under a lamppost because that's where the light is."

The report adds: "His point was that researchers have focused on CPG because it has better data to draw on, but the practice can give media generally, particularly TV, a bad rap because the industry's mature brands deliver less sales impact than other types of products and services can."

Please click here to read Advertising Age's full obituary.

Erwin Ephron.jpgErwin Ephron at the Television Bureau of Advertising conference

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'Sleepy Hollow' Team Sells Projects to Two Broadcast Nets

"Sleepy Hollow" co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci have sold drama projects to two broadcast networks -- CBS and the CW, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The co-creators of the freshman Fox drama "Sleepy Hollow," who also were behind the cult favorite "Fringe," have earned a "rich put pilot commitment" from CBS for an untitled drama from Nick Santora of "Prison Break." The project is inspired by Walter O'Brien, the man with the fourth-highest documented IQ, the story says.

The CW project is an untitled drama about a young woman from Brooklyn who is recruited by the CIA to infiltrate her criminal family.

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Why Fox News' Ed Henry Made a Sudden Exit From White House Briefing

Fox News' Ed Henry addressed his sudden exit from a Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, White House press briefing in a Monday interview, reports The Huffington Post.

"A visibly angry Henry walked out of the briefing after press secretary Jay Carney ignored his repeated questions," the piece reports. "Speaking to colleague Brian Kilmeade on Monday, Henry said that, though he looked annoyed, he had to duck out to appear on television." Henry added that he was not upset.

Asked how often he has been ignored by Carney, the story says, " 'That hasn't happened before, ever,' Henry said, adding later that the 'professional thing' for Carney to do would have been to call on him."

Here's the audio interview with Henry about the incident:

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Whoa! Report Says Marvel Is Putting Together a Package of Four Drama Series and a Miniseries

Wow! Here's a terrific exclusive by our friend Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com: "The notorious secrecy that surrounds Marvel‘s projects has been heightened to the nth degree for this one."

And here's Andreeva's scoop: "I hear that Marvel is quietly putting together a package of four drama series and a miniseries -- a total of some 60 episodes -- that would be taken out to the VOD and cable space, with Netflix, Amazon and WGN America rumored as potential candidates. Feelers had been sent out, and I hear there’s already interest from digital platforms and traditional cable networks in the package, which I hear is in very early stages with very little talent attached. Reps for Marvel refused any comment."

Marvel, owned by Disney, is on quite a roll. "The Avengers" was the highest-grossing movie of 2012, and currently holds the all-time box-office record for weekend gross. And "The Avengers" is currenlty being featured on Amazon's streaming video service. 

Furthermore, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is a hit on ABC and has been given a full-season order.

Andreeva concludes her scoop by writing: "Committing to 60 episodes off the bat is a big undertaking for a network/digital service but would make sense for outlets new to scripted programming that are looking to quickly build up a slate and want to capitalize on the Marvel brand."

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Cable Show Delivers Massive Audience: Sunday Premiere Draws 16.1 Million Viewers

With "Breaking Bad" having ended its run on AMC, industry watchers are waiting to see whether another cable series will fill the void in viewers and buzz -- and they may have got their answer Sunday night.

The Los Angeles Times reports that another AMC show, "The Walking Dead," premiered Sunday to 16.1 million viewers, including a whopping 10.4 million in the key 18-49 demo. The massive turnout for the season four premiere easily outpaced the show's previous record mark, for the season three finale. That episode delivered 12.4 million total viewers and 8.1 million in the key demo, the piece reports.

Even more impressive, Sunday's turnout came against competition from the NFL and the baseball playoffs.

"Sunday night's telecast outperformed all programs in the key demographic in prime time so far this season, even including NFL football games," the Times reports. "The 'Walking Dead' premiere also generated 1.17 million mentions on Twitter."

The piece notes that the series finale of "Breaking Bad" on AMC late last month delivered more than 10 million viewers.


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Three Weeks Into the TV Season, a Few Lessons Are Emerging

The new television season now has three weeks under its belt, and a few lessons have already been learned, reports Bill Carter in The New York Times.

First, patience is crucial in today's world of delayed viewing, he points out.

Additionally, he writes: "Decisions on the fates of shows must factor in quality as well as quantity. And the oldest scheduling technique in the world -- putting a new show behind an established hit -- is still the most effective tool at a network’s disposal."

"Finally, if you want a new show to do well, it is probably best to avoid Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, because nothing is going to pry viewers away from the National Football League," he concludes.

Each network has at least one potential new hit on its hands, and the viewership numbers this fall appear slightly better than last year. Overall prime-time viewing is averaging 8.21 million viewers, compared with 8.16 million in the fall of 2012.

For ABC, its hit is the drama "Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," while NBC has "The Blacklist." Fox is drawing viewers with "Sleepy Hollow," while CBS has two new comedies showing promise, "The Millers" and "The Crazy Ones."

But not everything is rosy. ABC dumped "Lucky 7" after two episodes, while CBS followed with the comedy "We Are Men," the story notes.

Please click here for series-by-series rundown on the outlook for the fall broadcast shows.

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Football Carries NBC to Dominant Sunday Ratings Win; Long-Running ABC Show Has Its Worst Premiere Ever; CBS Sees Three Shows Hit Series Lows

NBC chalked up a dominant performance in the Sunday night broadcast ratings, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the Peacock's "Sunday Night Football" coverage of the Dallas Cowboys' win over the Washington Redskins dwarfed the rest of the broadcast networks' prime-time programming.

The football game delivered a preliminary 7.3 average rating in viewers 18-49, up 28% from the equivalent number for the game a week ago. The report notes that the nature of live programming means the preliminary numbers for both NBC and Fox, which had some football carryover in prime time and also carried the MLB playoffs, will be subject to significant adjustments.

Fox's coverage of the ALCS series between the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox delivered a 2.4 average in 18-49, improving 41% from the Saturday game.

In non-sports programming, the top show of the night on broadcast was ABC's "Once Upon a Time," which dipped 12% from a week ago to a 2.3 average in the 18-49 demo. ABC's season premiere of "America's Funniest Home Videos" managed only a 1.1, down 27% from the season premiere a year ago and the show's lowest-rated premiere of all time.

ABC's "Revenge" came in with a 1.7 in the demo, losing 11% from a week ago, while "Betrayal" set a series low with a 0.9, off 18% from last week.

CBS had three shows hit series lows: "The Amazing Race" settled for a 1.8 average in viewers 18-49, losing 25% from a week ago; "The Good Wife" also lost 25%, dipping to a 1.2; and "The Mentalist" fell 13% to a 1.3. The news wasn't much better for "60 Minutes," which plummeted 61% from its football-delayed number a week ago to a 1.5.

For prime time overall, NBC's 6.0 average led the field in the 18-49 demo, followed by Fox's 3.6 average, with ABC and CBS tied for a distant third place with 1.5 averages, and Univision trailing with a 1.1. NBC was well out front in total viewers too, averaging 16.0 million to lead Fox (11.4 million), CBS (9.1 million), ABC (5.4 million) and Univision (3.0 million).

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Rihanna Helps Get Bar Owner Arrested in Crackdown on Live Sex Shows

R&B singer Rihanna played a role in getting a bar owner arrested as part of a crackdown on live sex shows, E! Online reports. The singer, who is on a world tour, reportedly posted tweets about the bar three weeks ago during a stop on the resort island of Phuket, prompting police in Thailand to raid the place.

"Kathu District Chief Veera Kerdsirimonghol told the Phuket Gazette that Warunyoo Jornmuang, owner of the Season bar on Soi Bangla, was taken into custody for 'operating an entertainment venue without a permit and for providing a lewd show,'" the story reports.

The report adds: "Authorities launched the unannounced inspection tour, which led to the bust, following some NSFW tweets by the R&B star to her more than 32 million followers in which she recounted being 'traumatized' by the X-rated acts she witnessed naked dancers performing during the ping-pong show."

Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut reportedly told the newspaper: "We wanted to make sure we would see things as they really are and what illegal activities were going on." Plainclothes officers were reportedly dispatched for a raid on the bar.

"Jornmuang reportedly could face up to one month in jail and a $1,900 fine," the report notes.

Rihanna has been involved in aiding law enforcement in the past, E! notes.

"Just days after she left Phuket last month on her Diamonds world tour, police busted two young men for violating a Thai law prohibiting citizens from charging tourists money to take photos with endangered animals," the story reports. "Cops were tipped off after the Barbadian beauty posted an Instagram photo of her posing with a slow loris with the caption, 'Look who was talkin dirty to me!'"

Thumbnail image for rihanna.jpgRihanna

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'Breaking Bad' Spoiler Alert (In Case You Still Haven't Heard): Event on Tap That Will Be of Interest to Fans of the Show

With a warning to anyone who still hasn't watched the finale of AMC's "Breaking Bad" and doesn't know how things turn out ... you may not want to read this item.

Fans of "Breaking Bad" who are missing Walter White will have the opportunity to pay their respects at a funeral hosted by an Albuquerque charity, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The event will take place Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m. at Sunset Memorial Park in New Mexico. The funeral will include a eulogy from "Breaking Bad" set decorator Michael Flowers, with a reception to be held at Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse.

The funeral is organized by a fan who thought White needed a permanent resting spot. The event will raise money for Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, as attendees are required to make a donation, the story says.

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More Broadcast Shows Appear Headed for Cancellation

With two new fall series on the major broadcast networks already formally canceled, it appears a number of prime-time shows are unlikely to be picked up for next season. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the endangered list includes high-profile launches such as ABC's "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," CBS's "Hostages" and NBC's "Ironside."

Already getting the ax are ABC's "Lucky 7" and CBS's "We Are Men," with both cancellations announced last week. Among returning shows, CBS has announced that this will be the final season for "How I Met Your Mother," while Fox has revealed plans to ship "American Dad" to TBS.

TVbytheNumbers' list of shows in the "cancellation predicted" category -- meaning unlikely to return for next season -- includes, by network:

ABC: "Back in the Game," "Betrayal," "Nashville," "The Neighbors," "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," "Trophy Wife."

CBS: "The Good Wife," "Hawaii Five-0," "Hostages," "The Mentalist," "Mom."

Fox: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Dads," "The Mindy Project."

NBC: "Ironside," "Parenthood," "Revolution," "Sean Saves the World," "Welcome to the Family."

In addition, ABC's "The Goldbergs" and "Super Fun Night" and CBS's "Two and a Half Men" are considered to be on the bubble.

Renewals are predicted for the rest of the prime-time lineups on the big four, and Fox has already announced renewals for "Bob's Burgers," "Glee," "The Simpsons" and "Sleepy Hollow."


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Another Top Cable Executive Departs Amid Turbulent Time for Industry

For top executives in the cable industry, the past few months have marked a turbulent time, which is continuing with the departure of Travel Channel President Laureen Ong, reports Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

Ong will step down from the Scripps channel at the end of the month.

"I feel my mission at Travel Channel is complete,” Ong said. “I came here to help transition Travel Channel into the Scripps family of lifestyle brands, put together a great leadership and creative team, and position the network for unprecedented growth."

Andreeva notes that the network's average prime-time viewership numbers were down 7% from last year in the most recent third quarter.

"While a successor is being found, Burton Jablin, president of the Scripps Networks operating division, will oversee Travel Channel’s operations and development on an interim basis. Ong previously was the founding president of the National Geographic Channel," Andreeva notes.

laureen-ong.pngLaureen Ong

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Reality Show Contestant Commits Suicide

A man who became a familiar face on prime-time TV as a contestant on a reality show has committed suicide. CNN reports that Joshua Marks, who was a runner-up on the Fox show "MasterChef" a year ago, committed suicide Friday.

His family blamed easy access to guns and a lack of mental health treatment facilities as contributing factors in his death, the story says. Marks, 26, died from a gunshot wound to his head.

"It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us," Lisa Butler, his attorney, said Sunday. "He was a jewel with so much talent to offer this world. But, in his state of mind, he turned to the streets for a gun and easily got it."

Marks' death has been ruled a suicide. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year, during the same month he lost in the final round of "MasterChef" to Christine Ha, the story reports. Just last week he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to Butler.

"He was charged with aggravated battery in July after scuffling with police officers who were called to the scene after he suffered serious facial wounds from a self-inflicted gunshot, according to his lawyer," the story reports. "His mother believed that incident was a call for help, not a suicide attempt, Butler said. But getting Marks help was not easy because of the lack of full-time mental health facilities in Illinois that would accept his insurance, she said."

The report adds: "Marks' mother, Paulette Mitchell, found him dead in an alley on Chicago's south side Friday evening after a neighbor called to say he was walking around with a gun, Butler said.

"His family is now hoping to help others suffering from mental illness by talking about what happened to Marks in the three months since his arrest, she said."

joshua marks masterchef.jpgJoshua Marks

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MSBNC President Wants Investigation Into Fox News' Ratings

The president of MSNBC says a probe into the ratings recently reported for Fox News Channel may be in order.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, MSNBC President Phil Griffin, speaking at a briefing to preview the network's new website, complained about what he called an "impossible" surge in ratings for Fox News on Tuesday, when Fox's Megyn Kelly outpaced his network's Rachel Maddow.

According to comments reported by TVNewser, Griffin said MSNBC had had a "really good day in the key demographic" Monday, when Fox News debuted three shows.

"Tuesday -- you guys should be doing some investigations -- I have never seen it in all my years of cable, same overnight, same everything, and they doubled their ratings in a day? It is impossible," Griffin said. “I have never seen it -- they did election night numbers in the demo Tuesday. Wednesday it came back down. I complained -- I was like, what?”

On Tuesday, Kelly drew 623,000 in the key news demographic of viewers 25-54, while Maddow drew 291,000. On the previous night, Maddow beat Kelly by 10,000 in the segment, THR notes.

Nielsen hadn't responded to Griffin's comments, according to THR.

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Former Fox Exec Jumps to CBS

A former executive at Fox Networks has joined CBS Corp., where he will focus on carriage fees for the company's properties, CBS announced today.

Jonathan Sarrow, who was vice president, distribution, national accounts, for Fox Networks, was named senior vice president of television networks distribution for CBS Corp.

Ray Hopkins, the president of the department, made the announcement.

Said Hopkins: “Jonathan brings a wealth of industry experience to this position, including valuable relationships with our distribution partners. Carriage fees are an increasingly important part of CBS’s growth strategy, and as we maximize the value of our content, it’s important we have a veteran like Jonathan helping negotiate these deals. I look forward to working with him in this role.”

The company noted in its announcement: "Sarrow will focus on the negotiation of carriage fees of CBS-owned properties with distribution platforms such as cable, satellite and telco companies."

At Fox Networks, Sarrow "managed the relationships of major distributors across multiple platforms," CBS noted. "He previously worked as Vice President, Business Affairs, where he concentrated on distribution negotiations and potential acquisitions, as well as regulatory issues, contract compliance and operations. Before that, Sarrow worked as Director, International Distribution for New Line Cinema, where he handled international sales and administration of licensing for the company’s film library."

Sarrow will be based in New York, relocating from the Los Angeles area.

jonathan sarrow2.pngJonathan Sarrow

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TV Producer, Writer and Director, Known for 'NYPD Blue,' 'Kojak' and Other Series, Dead at 77

A television producer, writer and director who worked on shows including "NYPD Blue" and "Kojak" has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Rift Fournier was 77.

Fournier was restricted to a wheelchair after he was stricken with polio in his youth, the story says. He co-produced the initial syndicated version of "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1963, and wrote episodes of TV hits including "Kojak" and "Charlie's Angels."

He also wrote, produced, directed and narrated "Cover Story," which debuted on the USA Network in 1984. The show featured profiles of entertainers.

“I didn't know [polio] was supposed to stop me from doing something,” Fournier told the Los Angeles Times in 1986, according to THR. “You’ve heard the joke. ‘I never knew I was poor … .’ Well, I never knew I was handicapped.”

Fournier's TV credits also included "Baretta," "Matlock," "Highway to Heaven" and the Emmy-winning 1970s NBC children's series "Go!," among many others.

rift fournier.jpgRift Fournier

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MTV Renews Series, Adds Companion Show

MTV is raising its bet on a scripted series, bringing the show back for another season and adding a complementary talk show. The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that the channel is ordering a fourth season of "Teen Wolf" and is creating the show "Wolf Watch" as a companion for the series.

The move takes a page from AMC with its post-shows such as "Talking Dead," a companion to its hit zombie show "The Walking Dead."

"Wolf Watch" will air after each episode of "Teen Wolf," and will be hosted by Jill Wagner, who plays Kate Argent in the series. "Teen Wolf" was renewed with a 12-episode order, and will return in 2014.

"That the network is beefing up the show's presence is hardly one to howl over. The first half of the third season averaged 2.8 million total viewers and a 2.5 among the 12-34 demo -- making it the highest-rated and most-watched season to date, according to the network," the story adds.

jill wagner.pngJill Wagner

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'Breaking Bad' Actor Joins FX Project

An actor who made an impact in AMC's acclaimed drama series "Breaking Bad" has joined a high-profile project that's in the works at FX. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that "Fargo," an FX limited series inspired by the 1996 movie, cast "Breaking Bad's" Bob Odenkirk.

Odenkirk, who played the lawyer Saul Goodman on "Breaking Bad," will portray Deputy Bill Olson, who is described as having seniority over younger and smarter fellow deputy Molly Solverson.

"Fargo" has also cast Glenn Howerton of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," who will play personal trainer Don Chumph, the piece says.

The drama will follow an all-new "true crime" plot, while featuring new characters set against the "Minnesota nice" backdrop portrayed in the movie, the story reports, noting that the new project will aim for the same humorous tone that worked successfully in the film.

Odenkirk also has the "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul" in the works at AMC, as previously reported.

bob odenkirk.jpgBob Odenkirk

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How Many 'Wizard of Oz' Projects Are Headed to TV? Would You Believe Five? Here's the List, Including the Newest Addition

Yet anther high-profile "Wizard of Oz" TV project is in the works, bringing the total at this point to five. Deadline.com reports that the latest addition to the list is a Lifetime project.

Lifetime is working on "Red Brick Road," described as a "Game of Thrones"-type take on the classic story, the story reports.

"In the classic 1939 feature, when Dorothy set off for the Emerald City, she followed the Yellow Brick Road," the piece notes. "But among the yellow bricks at Dorothy’s feet, there was also a swirl of red bricks. They’ve been there the whole time in plain sight. Unnoticed. Unexplored. Which raises the question -- just where do they go?"

In the Lifetime project, Dorothy will go to the "oldest, darkest and most dangerous parts of Oz," the story notes.

"'Red Brick Road' is the fifth Oz-themed project to land a network sale in the past three months," Deadline reports, noting that the project joins "NBC’s drama 'Emerald City,' a dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of 'Game of Thrones'; CBS’s 'Dorothy,' a medical soap inspired by the characters and themes from 'The Wizard of Oz'; the CW’s 'Dorothy Must Die,' a revisionist take on L. Frank Baum’s classic based on the upcoming young adult novel by Danielle Paige; and Syfy’s miniseries 'Warriors of Oz' from director Timur Bekmambetov, a fantasy-action reimagining of the classic story."


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Prize-Winning Novel to Get PBS 'Masterpiece' Treatment

PBS's "Masterpiece" will air a miniseries based on a prize-winning novel and its sequel. The New York Times' Arts Beat reports that "Wolf Hall," the Booker Prize winner about Thomas Cromwell, and its sequel "Bring Up the Bodies" will get the "Masterpiece" treatment.

The costume drama will star Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, who rose in the Tudor court and became a powerful minister to Henry VIII.

The drama will start filming next spring for a 2015 broadcast, and will be directed by Peter Kosminsky, who helmed the movie "White Oleander."

“Only an enormously gifted actor like Mark Rylance could do justice to Hilary Mantel’s nuanced characterization of Thomas Cromwell. I have no doubt that our PBS viewers will be dazzled by his performance in ‘Wolf Hall,’” said Rebecca Eaton, the "Masterpiece" executive producer.

mark rylance.jpgMark Rylance

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Report: Cable Operators in Talks to Add Netflix to Set-Top Boxes

Netflix is talking with U.S. cable-television operators to add its application to their set-top boxes, Bloomberg reports.

That would allow customers to search for Netflix's streaming shows and movies along with their searches for traditional TV programming, the story says.

Netflix has reportedly talked with Comcast and Time Warner Cable, among others. But talks are farther along with smaller cable operators that use TiVo's set-top boxes, the piece notes. Any deals are weeks to months from being announced.

"The talks suggest cable operators increasingly see Netflix’s $7.99 monthly service as a tool to attract and retain customers, rather than a threat that will lead to cord-cutting. Integration with cable service would let viewers find and watch shows without switching inputs, and may help cable operators promote their own on-demand offerings," the story reports.

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CBS Asks Fans to Create Story Line for a Prime-Time Drama

CBS is following up on a stunt last season in which viewers picked how an episode of one of its prime-time dramas would end. Deadline.com reports that this time around the network is asking fans to take control of a full episode of that same drama series, "Hawaii Five-0."

Through the "Fan Built Five-0" initiative, the show will allow the public to vote for several key story points, including the scene of the crime, the victim, the murder weapon and key evidence, the story reports.

"After the polls close on Halloween, the show’s writers will use the winning elements to forge a script. Before production on the episode begins in February, fans will be able to weigh in on such things as wardrobe, props, music and the title," the piece reports.

Since moving to Friday nights, the show's ratings in the key demo of viewers 18-49 are down 21%, although the program has jumped by about the same percentage in total viewers, given that Friday is an older-skewing night, the report notes.


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Don't Tell Me: Madonna Banned From U.S. Theater Chain for Texting During Movie

Madonna has been banned from a movie theater chain for texting during a movie -- even though her texting was NOT in a theater owned by the movie chain. 

Here's the story, as written by James Hibberd, our former TVWeek colleague at his current publication, Entertainment Weekly:

"Madonna was reportedly texting up a storm while attending the New York Film Festival premiere of '12 Years a Slave' last week and reacted in a rather spectacularly annoyed manner when asked to stop ('It’s for business … enslaver!')

"The [Texas-based] Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain has long had a strict no-talking and anti-texting policy for its theaters, and will eject any patron that violates the policy. So when word of the incident reached Alamo founder and CEO Tim League, he tweeted that Madonna would no longer be welcome at the chain until she 'apologizes to movie fans.'

"Asked by EW if he was serious about the ban -- at one point while defending his stance on Twitter he had called it a joke -- League replied late Saturday, 'Yeah, I’m serious, but I don’t think it really affects her life that much.' "

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Sad News: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author of Bestseller 'Mambo Kings,' Oscar Hijuelos, Dies at 62

"Oscar Hijuelos, 62, a Cuban-American novelist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 novel "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love" and whose work often captured the loss and triumphs of the Cuban immigrant experience, has died," reports the Associated Press.

Hijuelos was the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the story notes.

The article continues: "Hijuelos died of a heart attack in Manhattan on Saturday while playing tennis, according to his agent, Jennifer Lyons. 'The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love' became a best seller and earned him international acclaim."

A movie version of "Mambo Kings," starring Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas and Cathy Moriarty, came out in 1992.

According to the AP obituary, "In his 2011 memoir, 'Thoughts Without Cigarettes,' Hijuelos writes of how he struggled against being labeled an 'ethnic' writer and notes that even today there are few other Latinos whose work, despite the considerable number of talented authors, has been awarded the same recognition.'"

"Mambo Kings" also has a connection to TV. From The New York Times obituary for Hijuelos: "Cesar and Nestor [Castillo] and their band, the Mambo Kings, do achieve a brief period of celebrity, and at one point -- the high point, in fact, of the brothers’ fame before it begins to flicker and fade -- they appear on the television sitcom 'I Love Lucy,' which starred Lucille Ball and her husband, the Cuban bandleader and actor Desi Arnaz.

“ 'In the biography of a successful artist, the "I Love Lucy" appearance would take on a kind of mythic quality: It would stand as one of those happily ironic moments signifying the hero’s own ascent toward the American dream,' Michiko Kakutani wrote in her review in The New York Times. 'But in the case of the Castillo brothers, the “I Love Lucy” show provides no more than a momentary glimpse of success. Although it will be rerun endlessly on late-night television, it will remain just a bit of cherished family folklore, an anonymous (and dead-end) brush with fame.' "

The AP article notes that Hijuelos' "other novels include 'Our House in the Last World,' 'Empress of the Splendid Season,' 'Dark Dude,' 'The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien' and 'A Simple Habana Melody.' He ... also received the Rome Prize and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation."

oscar hijuelos.pngOscar Hijuelos

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No S&M for 'Sons of Anarchy' Star After All. Charlie Hunnam, Who Had Just Landed the Starring Role in the Movie Version of the 'Mommy Porn' Bestseller 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' Drops Out of the Part

The headline on Deadline.com reads "SHOCKER! Charlie Hunnam Exits Christian Grey Role in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ "

Writes our friend Mike Fleming Jr. in that story, "Well, here’s a surprise. Universal is going to have to look harder to find its S&M minded zillionaire Christian Grey because 'Sons Of Anarchy' star Charlie Hunnam has exited the role he only just got. He was set early last month to star in what is expected to be at least three movies based on the EL James novel trilogy 'Fifty Shades Of Grey.' 

According to the story, Universal released a statement blaming Hunnam's "immersive TV schedule" as the reason he dropped out of the movie role.

However, Fleming writes, "It seems more likely that Hunnam had time to think about it, and decided the role didn’t fit him like that 'Sons' leather jacket he wears. There is a lot of nudity in the film, and calls for the kind of things that might make a veteran actor like Hunnam uncomfortable. Or maybe he watched as the 'Twilight' saga leads turned into celebrities and didn’t want that."

Writes the Hollywood Reporter, "Two sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Hunnam, 33, was overwhelmed with the attention he received from being cast in the movie and got cold feet about carrying such a high-profile project. Universal was forced to hire bodyguards for the actor at a recent 'Sons of Anarchy' premiere, where questions about 'Fifty Shades' dominated the red carpet. The sources caution that Hunnam had no reservation about the role of Christian Grey, just the media and fan frenzy that came along with it, especially as he was transitioning from 'Sons' to 'Fifty Shades' so quickly."

For those not familiar with the "Fifty Shades" phenomenon, here's an excerpt from a report that ran on "Good Morning America": "The romance novels of EL James are heating up bedrooms across the country, and fans can't seem to get enough of what is being called 'mommy porn.' [In the first book] Anastasia Steele, 21, and a virginal college student, can't say no to dashing 27-year-old Christian Grey, who insists she sign a contract that allows him to submit her to his every sadomasochistic whim."

"Mommy porn" refers to the young suburban moms who reportedly make up a large part of the fan base for "Fifty Shades."

Charlie Hunnam.jpgCharlie Hunnam

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'Nightline' Co-Anchor Lands at CNN

Hours after news broke about a shuffle among the on-air personalities at ABC's "Nightline," CNN announced that former "Nightline" co-anchor Bill Weir is joining the cable news channel, TheWrap.com reports.

Weir joins CNN as an anchor and Chief Innovation Correspondent, the network announced. Weir is being replaced on the ABC News show by Dan Harris, as we reported earlier today.

"The former anchor of ABC News’ 'Nightline' will work with producers to develop original programming across the schedule. He will join CNN in November, and be based in New York," CNN said in its announcement.

Said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker: “Bill’s range, sensibility and curiosity set him apart. He brings a unique storytelling style, perspective and sense of humor to CNN, and he will be a key player as we continue to expand our lineup.”

CNN's announcement adds: "In addition to his anchoring and development roles, Weir will bring his forward-looking perspective to coverage of the innovation and technology space. After filing groundbreaking reports from around the world on the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Facebook he will continue to document the pace of leading-edge innovation for CNN."

Weir added: “I’m ecstatic to join a team with such vast resources and such strong commitment to covering our world. 'Nightline' was a blast and while I’ll always be indebted to my ABC friends this is a chance to mix journalism and creative storytelling in a whole new way. I can’t wait.”

bill weir.jpgBill Weir

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Thursday Night Ratings Carnage: One Show Bucks the Downtrend in a Big Way, While One Network's Entire Prime-Time Lineup Struggles

Almost everything on broadcast prime was down Thursday night from a week earlier, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo. But TVbytheNumbers.com reports that one show, Fox's "Glee," bucked that trend in a big way, with its Cory Monteith tribute episode surging to a 2.8 average rating -- the show's best number in more than a year -- up from a 1.6 a week ago.

Meanwhile, one big four network -- NBC -- saw its entire prime-time lineup turn in tepid numbers as the Peacock finished fifth behind Univision for prime time overall.

The best any NBC show managed was a 1.2 average in 18-49, with "Parks and Recreation," "The Michael J. Fox Show" and "Parenthood" all hitting that mark. "Parks" matched last week's number, while "Fox" dropped a half-point from last week's 1.7 and "Parenthood" fell three-tenths, hitting an all-time low.

And that may have been the good news for NBC. The bad news: A 0.8 in the 18-49 demo for "Welcome to the Family," down three-tenths of a point from a week ago, and a 1.0 for "Sean Saves the World," off four-tenths from last week.

On a more upbeat note, CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" led all broadcast shows with a 4.9 average in viewers 18-49, but even that number was down three-tenths from a week earlier. CBS's "The Millers" also showed some resilience with a 3.1, slipping two-tenths, while "The Crazy Ones" shed a hefty five-tenths of a point, settling for a 2.4.

CBS's "Two and a Half Men" fell to a new series low, slipping one-tenth from last week's series low to a 2.3 in 18-49, while "Elementary" also lost one-tenth, settling for a 1.9.

ABC rolled out the premiere of "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," which managed only a 1.7 in viewers 18-49 to rank as the network's lowest-rated Thursday fall premiere since "My Generation" in 2010 -- and well below the 2.2 delivered in the same time slot by "Last Resort" a year ago.

Elsewhere on ABC, "Grey's Anatomy" fell three-tenths from last week to a 2.8 in 18-49, while "Scandal" plunged a half-point to a 3.1 but still easily won the 10 p.m. hour against CBS's "Elementary" and NBC's "Parenthood."

Fox's "The X Factor" was down too, but only one-tenth from last week, with a 1.9 average in the 18-49 demo.

For prime time overall, CBS came out on top with a 2.8 average in adults 18-49, ahead of ABC (2.5 average), Fox (2.4), Univision (1.3) and NBC (1.1). CBS held a solid lead in total viewers with 11.0 million, leading ABC (7.8 million), Fox (6.9 million), NBC (3.4 million) and Univision (3.3 million).

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CBS Wins Bidding War for One of the Most Sought-After Projects of the Season

CBS has landed a high-profile comedy project, prevailing in a bidding war for the half-hour show, Deadline.com reports. The show is executive produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and stars comedian Tom Papa.

Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith are co-writing the project, from 20th Century Fox TV. CBS has made a put pilot commitment.

"Based on the stand-up of Papa and the experiences of Damon, the multicamera comedy, titled 'More Time With Family,' centers on a guy (Papa) who changes his career and gives up a life on the road to spend more time at home with his family -- but when he gets there, he realizes no one asked him to do that," the story reports.

The report adds: "The project originated with Papa and Damon, who had worked together on two movies, 'The Informant' and 'Behind the Candelabra.' They teamed with Damon’s childhood friend and frequent collaborator Affleck, whose company, Pearl Street Films, is making a big push in television. The three met with a number of writers, going with Yuspa and Goldsmith and setting up the project at 20th TV where the scribes are under an overall deal."

Damon and Affleck will executive produce the project through Pearl Street, along with Papa, Yuspa, Goldsmith and 3 Arts’ Dave Becky and Josh Lieberman, the story reports.

"This marks Pearl Street’s second TV sale and second big commitment -- the company also has crime drama 'The Middle Man' at Fox, which has a pilot order with Affleck directing and Glenn Gordon Caron writing," Deadline notes.

tom papa.jpgTom Papa

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Queen of Romantic Comedies to Produce and Star in NBC Sitcom

An actress considered by many to be the queen of romantic comedies is going all in with NBC, developing a sitcom as a star vehicle for herself.

TheWrap.com reports that Meg Ryan will play a single mother who returns to a publishing career and finds herself working for her former intern. Ryan became a huge movie star through her romantic comedy roles in features including "When Harry Met Sally ...," "Sleepless in Seattle," "French Kiss" and "You've Got Mail."

Ryan will star in and executive produce the new project.

"Ryan will play Rose, a sunny, devoted and desperately non-confrontational single mom who decides to return to her New York publishing house where she was once a brilliant editor to find that she now works for Brenda, her neurotic 30-year-old boss who was once her former intern," the story reports. "Rose must find a way to keep her boss, her teenage kids, her almost ex-husband and her meddlesome mother-in-law all happy, which results in her over-complicating every situation and somehow always making it worse."

The project is from Universal TV, with Ryan’s manager, Jane Berliner, also signed on as an executive producer.

"Marc Lawrence ('Miss Congeniality') is writing the project as well as executive producing," the piece adds.

meg ryan.pngMeg Ryan

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Sexy 'Nymphomaniac' Posters Creating a Stir Online

A series of posters for the new Lars Von Trier movie "Nymphomaniac" -- in which most of the stars appear to be showing off their "orgasm faces" -- is generating plenty of buzz on the Internet, E! Online reports.

The posters give the impression the film's stars are having sex, the piece notes.

"And by the sheer looks of ecstasy on the faces of Uma Thurman, Christian Slater and Shia LaBeouf -- the first two actors appear to be at a climactic moment while the latter ... seems to be enjoying a post-coital cigarette -- moviegoers are in for a ride of supposedly epic sexual proportions," the story says.

Other stars featured in the posters include Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen, Willem Dafoe and Stacy Martin.

"'Nymphomaniac' generated buzz before shooting even began after Shia told MTV News last year that he would go as far as the controversial Danish filmmaker asked when it came to the erotic drama's explicit sex scenes, even implying that he'd forgo simulating copulation in favor of the real thing if necessary," the story reports.

At the time, LaBeouf reportedly said: "Everything that is illegal, we'll shoot in blurred images. Other than that, everything is happening."

Charlotte Gainsbourg stars in the movie as Joe, "the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac of the title, who's found beaten in an alley and recounts the story of her sexual adventures," the report notes, adding: "In all, 14 character posters have hit the Web, all of which find the cast members -- which also include Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Jamie Bell, Mia Goth, Willem Dafoe, Stacy Martin and Connie Nielsen -- posing in the throes of passion."

The story adds: "Von Trier shot the A-listers simulating sex, but as a 'Nymphomaniac' producer told The Hollywood Reporter, the director digitally replaced their privates with those of porn actors doing the deed for real."

The film is set to be released next year in the U.S., following a release in Denmark on Christmas Day, according to the report, which notes that it is expected to be released in both an NC-17 and an R-rated version.

nymphomaniac poster sophie.jpg

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'The Office' Actor Arrested

One of the stars of NBC's "The Office" was arrested after trying to board a plane in the Bahamas while reportedly carrying a gram of marijuana and 18 ecstasy pills, reports TMZ.com.

Craig Robinson pleaded guilty to two counts of drug possession, the story says. Robinson played Darryl Philbin on "The Office" and is also known for his work in films including "Pineapple Express," "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and "Shrek Forever After."

While he could have faced up to four years in prison, Robinson was let off with a $1,000 fine and ordered to leave the Bahamas immediately, the story says.

"During the hearing, Robinson told the court he brought the drugs from the U.S. and simply didn't know they were outlawed in the Bahamas," the piece notes.

craig robinson.pngCraig Robinson

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Hulu Close to Naming Fox Executive as CEO -- the Move 'Shifts Hulu's Center of Gravity'

Hulu has its sights set on a Fox executive as its next chief executive. Bloomberg reports that the online streaming company is close to naming Mike Hopkins, president of distribution for Fox Networks, to succeed acting CEO Andy Forssell.

Hopkins is experienced in negotiating with pay-TV services, the story notes.

"The company wants to become an online partner to the industry, giving cable subscribers mobile and online access to programs, and is developing its own shows," the report notes. "The selection signals Hulu is becoming more of a media property than a technology innovator, said Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham & Co."

"The money is in distribution fees from cable, satellite and telecom industries,” Martin told Bloomberg. “Mike Hopkins shifts Hulu’s center of gravity away from Silicon Valley and towards Hollywood.”

mike hopkins.jpgMike Hopkins

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Anthony Weiner and Sean Hannity in On-Air Showdown -- Weiner Denies He's 'Auditioning' for MSNBC (Here's the Video)

Anthony Weiner, whose bid to become mayor of New York City went down in flames amidst a sexting scandal, got into a squabble with Sean Hannity on Fox News and denied he was "auditioning" for a job on MSNBC, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Weiner appeared on Hannity on Wednesday night allegedly to discuss Obamacare and the government shutdown. But the two got off to a rocky start after Weiner accused Hannity of 'begging' him to come on, then he refused to answer questions about the sexting scandal that caused him to resign from Congress two years ago," the story reports.

"I thought maybe the reason you are here is because, maybe, you wanted to transition to television, and maybe you're coming on this show in the hopes of, like, replacing Chris Matthews," Hannity said.

Weiner denied it, saying, "Nope."

Hannity came back to the question later, telling his guest, "You're auditioning for MSNBC. You're auditioning. You want Chris Matthews' job. I can tell. You want to ask questions … you never shut up, like Chris Matthews, either."

Weiner replied, "Why do you always have patsies on?"

Hannity: "You want a job at MSNBC. I got it. Now I know why you came here today."

Weiner: "Fox apparently has much lower standards. I'd much rather have a job on Fox."

Hannity: "Ouch. You want me to talk about low standards? You really want me to go there?"

Here's the interview:

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NBC Goes Back in Time for the Concept Behind Two New Series

NBC is developing two new sci-fi dramas, reaching back in time to the early 1990s for the possible inspiration. Deadline.com reports that both shows involve time travel -- conjuring up memories of NBC's popular cult time-jump series "Quantum Leap," which went off the air in 1993.

In fact, one of the new projects is from a former co-executive producer of "Quantum Leap," while the other is from the creator of another show involving time travel.

The latter project, "Lighthouse," is from Josh Friedman, the creator of "The Sarah Connor Chronicles." The show is set at a mysterious hotel that caters to time travelers.

The other project is from former "Quantum Leap" co-executive producer Deborah Pratt. Called "Timeless," the project is about a woman who time travels between the future and the present day.

"'Timeless' is … about provoking thought and asking the proverbial question, ‘What if?’ which is a feat and I believe that we did that incredibly well on 'Quantum Leap,'” Pratt said.

deborah pratt.jpgDeborah Pratt

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ABC's 'Nightline' Replaces Co-Anchor

ABC's long-running late-night news program "Nightline" has named a new co-anchor, replacing a co-anchor who has been on the job since 2010.

Dan Harris will take over the spot, with Bill Weir leaving ABC News. The announcement was made by ABC News boss Ben Sherwood in an email to staffers.

"I am delighted to announce that Dan Harris is becoming a co-anchor of 'Nightline,'" Sherwood wrote. "Effective immediately, he joins Cynthia McFadden and Dan Abrams at the helm of our award-winning late night program, which recently closed out the 2012-2013 season beating its competition on CBS in every demo and consistently improving ABC's performance at 12:35 am."

Sherwood said Weir notified him this week that he is departing ABC News for another opportunity in the news business.

Harris "will continue to co-anchor the weekend edition of 'Good Morning America,' a role he has held since October 2010," Sherwood wrote. "The show is posting its best ratings in years. Just last week 'GMA Weekend' won the 2012-2013 season as the most-watched Saturday morning program in total viewers and Adults 25-54."

Sherwood thanked Weir for his contributions to ABC News, noting: "He helped launch 'GMA Weekend' in 2004 and was named co-anchor of 'Nightline' in 2010. A gifted writer and storyteller, Bill has taken our audience around the world, reporting from atop the Golden Gate Bridge and under the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. He has ventured where few have gone before including Foxconn in China giving viewers a rare glimpse inside Apple’s factories."

Sherwood said of Harris: "Dan is one of our most versatile anchors -- covering many of the biggest news stories for all of our broadcasts since he joined the network in 2000, including mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, and Tucson. He has covered natural disasters from Haiti to Myanmar to New Orleans. He has also reported from combat zones in Afghanistan, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, and has reported from Iraq on six occasions."

dan-harris.jpgDan Harris

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Video: BBC Confirms Recovery of Lost 'Doctor Who' Episodes, Unveils Plans to Distribute Them

The BBC is already at work remastering newly discovered tapes featuring lost episodes of the original "Doctor Who" television series, according to a Deadline.com story. A video clip (see below) offers a look at the progress of remastering and plans to distribute the shows.

"The BBC has confirmed the recovery of nine 'Doctor Who' episodes, which had long been thought missing," Deadline notes. "Reports of the trove first surfaced earlier this week, to the delight of the Tardis faithful, and BBC Worldwide has now made the remastered episodes available for download via iTunes."

In reports earlier this week it was said that more than 100 episodes had surfaced, with the discovery attributed to a find in Ethiopia. The Deadline.com story identifies Nigeria as a source of at least some of the shows.

The new video focuses on nine episodes of the series from the 1960s.

"Back in the fold are five installments of 1967 story 'The Enemy of the World,' and four installments of 1968’s 'The Web of Fear,' which sees the Time Lord battle a robot yeti in the London Underground," Deadline reports. "All of the episodes feature Patrick Troughton as the 2nd Doctor. Many of the original transmission tapes were destroyed by the BBC, so it’s often copies made for foreign broadcast that turn up to fill in the gaps."

The Deadline report adds: "According to the BBC, there are still 27 'Doctor Who' stories that are missing or have incomplete episodes." The numbers appear to be uncertain, based on comments on the story, with one commenter offering the clarification that 97 episodes are missing (or incomplete), covering 26 "Doctor Who' stories.

Here's the video:

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'Storage Hunters' Stars Sue After Alleged Infamatory Remarks Were Made About Them

TruTV and the production company T Group Productions were sued by two cast members of "Storage Hunters," with the stars alleging they were improperly cut from a second season, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq. The couple claim other causes as well.

Scott Tassone and Chrissy Tassone allege they were cut because of some negative things said about them by employees of T Group Productions, the story says.

The suit claims that "defamatory and harassing actions were made in an attempt to cause irreparable damage to plaintiffs businesses, name and reputation," such as alleging that the Tassones were liars, con artists and thieves engaging in scams and running illegal businesses, among other damaging statements, the story says.

The lawsuit claims there was an effort to interfere with their employment, although the pair were "exemplary employees … well-liked by the production staff and the viewing audience," the suit claims.

A representative for Turner Broadcasting, which is the parent of TruTV, had no immediate comment, the story says.

scott and chrissy tassone.pngChrissy and Scott Tassone

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NBC Buys Project Co-Written by Actor From 'PC/Mac' Commercials

An actor known for his role in Apple's "Get a Mac" ad campaign is co-writing and may star in a project that's been bought by NBC, reports Deadline.com.

The actor is Justin Long, who was a regular on NBC's "Ed" before moving into feature films and becoming the face of the Apple campaign.

The project has received a script commitment with penalty and comes from 20th Century Fox TV and Jason Winer's Small Dog Picture Co. Long's younger brother Christian Long and Graham Wagner of "The Office" are also writing.

Called "The Younger Man," the project focuses on a man in his early 30s who is happily married to an older woman and who has a teenage son.

"While raising their teenage son, the two must endure his mother’s scorn and sideways glances from their community, but they are driven forward by his unspoken mantra 'I’m gonna make you love me,'" the story says.

justin long.jpgJustin Long

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LGBT Roles Drop in Prime Time

The broadcast networks' prime-time lineups include fewer roles featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) characters, TV Guide reports, citing a report from GLAAD.

LGBT characters make up 3.3% of regulars on scripted series this season, when considering the five broadcast networks. That's down from last year's 4.4%, which represented a record high.

"Though the number of LGBT characters dropped this season, shows like 'The Fosters,' with an interracial female couple raising a family, and characters like Unique on 'Glee' have not only moved the conversation about LGBT people forward, but are also a hit with audiences," said GLAAD's Wilson Cruz in a statement.

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BBC and Discovery 'Essentially Dissolving' Their Partnership

The BBC and the Discovery Channel are cutting back on their collaborations, according to The New York Times, which reports that the two organizations are "essentially dissolving" a relationship that stems from the 1990s.

The change comes as the two broadcasters have become more like competitors since the deal was first struck. The partnership created natural history shows such as "Planet Earth" and "Blue Planet."

BBC America will instead co-produce some of the BBC's wildlife documentaries and films, while Discovery will also look to other producers for science and natural history projects. Discovery will continue to work with the BBC on some shows, the story adds.

The BBC wants to raise the awareness of its own branded channel in the U.S., while Discovery wants to own worldwide rights to its programming as it seeks an international reach, the report notes.

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'Walking Dead' Executive Producer Adapting Alien Project for Syfy

"The Walking Dead" executive producer Gale Anne Hurd is adapting Whitley Strieber's best-selling novel "Alien Hunter" for Syfy, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

Called "Hunters," the project is about a Pennsylvania detective who becomes a suspect in his wife's disappearance. While trying to find her and prove his innocence, he finds evidence that aliens are living on Earth, the story says.

Hurd told the publication: "It's based on Whitley Strieber, who's most well-known for 'Communion.' He's a person incredibly well spoken, incredibly bright and incredibly knowledgeable. He had an encounter, and it changed his life -- in good ways and in not so good ways."

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CW Orders Additional Scripts for Three Freshman Dramas

Three freshman dramas on the CW received a vote of confidence from the network, which has ordered three additional scripts apiece for "The Originals," "The Tomorrow People" and "Reign," The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

"The Originals" drew 1.9 million viewers and a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic in its Oct. 3 debut, while the premiere of "Tomorrow People" on Oct. 9 also drew a 0.9 rating in the demo.

"Reign," a period drama about a young Mary, Queen of Scots, will debut Oct. 17 and is scheduled to lead out from "Vampire Diaries," which the story points out signals the network's support.

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Wow! Paul McCartney Surprises High School in Queens, NY with 90-Minute Musical Set. He Sang a Number of Beatles Songs, Including 'Eight Days a Week,' 'Back in the USSR,' and 'Hey Jude'

"This beats going to class," Paul McCartney said with a big smile after taking the stage for a surprise performance at a performing arts high school in Astoria, Queens this afternoon," reports Rolling Stone.

McCartney and his band showed up for the surprise concert on Wednesday, Oct.9, 2013, at the auditorium of the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts, the story says, which was filled with 400 students.

The article continues, "McCartney and his band played a full set of 13 songs, including three selections from his upcoming album New (due out next week) and plenty of Beatles and Wings classics – performing each one with all the boundless enthusiasm he brought to arenas and stadiums on his Out There world tour this year. Astoria native Tony Bennett, who founded the school in 2001, was in attendance, as was McCartney's wife, Nancy Shevell, celebrating their second anniversary.  The show was filmed by iHeartRadio, and will be streamed on ClearChannel radio stations and online on Yahoo! on Monday, October 14th."

According to the story here's the song list:

Set List:
"Eight Days a Week"
"Save Us"
"Lady Madonna"
"We Can Work It Out"
"Everybody Out There"
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
"Band on the Run"
"Back in the U.S.S.R."
"Hey Jude"

To read about some of the questions the kids asked McCartney, and his answers, please click on the link above and go to the complete Rolling Stone story.

Paul McCartney at Frank Sinatra HS in Astoria, NY on Oct. 9 2013.jpgStudents at Frank Sinatra School for the Arts in Astoria, Queens Cheer Paul McCartney

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Cable Network Gets New President and General Manager

A top executive has returned to a company he used to work for to become the new president and general manager of a cable network targeted to women.

"Marc Juris is returning to AMC Networks as the new president and general manager of WE tv," reports our friend Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

The story continues, "He succeeds Kim Martin, who stepped down last week, and will report to Ed Carroll, COO of AMC Networks. Most recently, Juris was EVP and COO of truTV for nine years until departing the Turner network this past summer."

Thumbnail image for MarcJuris.jpgMarc Juris

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Longtime Cast Member on NBC's 'Law & Order: SVU' Is Stepping Down

A fixture in the cast of the long-running NBC procedural "Law & Order: SVU" is stepping down. Starpulse reports that Richard Belzer, who has been playing the character John Munch for more than 20 years -- appearing in 450 episodes of various TV series -- is exiting the show as a series regular.

Belzer, 69, will reportedly continue on the show on a recurring basis.

"On the Wed., Oct. 9, episode of 'SVU,' Munch handed in his retirement papers. The Oct. 16 episode will feature his retirement party," the story reports.

The piece adds: "Munch made his debut appearance on 'Homicide: Life on the Street' in 1993. He has also showed up on 'The X-Files,' 'The Beat,' 'Arrested Development,' 'The Wire,' 'Law & Order' and 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury,' according to The Huffington Post."

Here's a video report:

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Video: Kanye West and Jimmy Kimmel Settle Their 'Rap Feud'

The eagerly anticipated appearance by rapper Kanye West last night on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" -- as the two men sought to put their so-called "rap feud" to rest -- appeared to accomplish that goal, at least for now, USA Today reports.

West apparently said much of his anger, which was vented in a flurry of Twitter posts directed at Kimmel, was really aimed at the press in general -- at "every person who feels it's OK to treat celebrities like zoo animals."

And Kimmel noted that West is often misunderstood, saying: "A lot of people think you are a jerk. I often in my own personal conversations say, 'No. I know this guy. He is not a jerk.'"

Here's a video report:

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Three-Way Logjam at the Top of the Wednesday Ratings -- Which Big 4 Network Came Up Short?

Three of the big four broadcast networks finished in a tight bunch atop the ratings for Wednesday prime time, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that CBS, ABC and Fox all finished within a tenth of a point of each other, with NBC a distant fourth. NBC also finished fourth in total viewers, with CBS forging a lead over the pack in that metric.

The bad news for NBC was spread throughout all three hours of prime time. "Revolution" got the ball rolling at 8 p.m. by sinking to a new series low, a 1.5 average in viewers 18-49, down one-tenth of a point from last week. Next up was "Law & Order: SVU," which fell four-tenths from a week ago to a 1.6. At 10 p.m., "Ironside" finished a distant third among three networks with a 1.1 average, down two-tenths.

ABC had the top show of the night among the broadcast nets in "Modern Family," even though the show fell four-tenths of a point from the previous week to record a 3.8 average in 18-49. The show's decline from a week ago was part of an across-the-board dropoff for ABC. Suffering the hardest hit was "Super Fun Night," which plummeted seven-tenths to a 2.5 average. "The Middle" slipped one-tenth to a 2.2, "Back in the Game" was off two-tenths to a 1.7, and "Nashville" also shed two-tenths to settle for a 1.7.

CBS matched ABC's overall 2.3 prime-time average in the 18-49 demo to tie for the lead, but also saw its entire prime-time lineup lose ground. "Survivor" was down three-tenths from a week ago with a 2.4 average, "Criminal Minds" dipped one-tenth to a 2.6, and "CSI" equaled its series low with a 1.9, falling two-tenths.

Fox finished right on the heels of CBS and ABC, with its two-hour "X Factor" delivering a 2.2 average in adults 18-49, down two-tenths from a week earlier.

For prime time overall, CBS and ABC averaged 2.3 ratings in the 18-49 demo, followed by Fox (2.2 average), NBC (1.4) and Univision (1.2). CBS came out on top in total viewers with 9.7 million, followed by ABC (7.2 million), Fox (7.1 million), NBC (5.6 million) and Univision (3.1 million).

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Cable Series Delivers Record Ratings

A cable drama series launched its new season with a record-breaking viewer turnout Wednesday night. Deadline.com reports that FX's "American Horror Story: Coven" -- the third season of the Ryan Murphy-Brad Falchuk anthology -- got off to a strong start.

"About 5.54 million [viewers] -- and 3.87% of the country’s 18- to 49-year-olds -- tuned in to watch Kathy Bates give Jessica Lange a run for her scenery-chewing money as early 19th century New Orleans grand dame Madame LaLaurie who, when not leading society, kills time peeling the skin off the faces of her slaves, or turning them into minotaurs," the story reports.

The piece adds: "It’s the most-watched telecast ever in the 'American Horror Story' franchise -- and, when Live+7 stats come around, stands a good chance of becoming the most-watched program in FX history. Add in last night’s repeats of the season debut and FX clocked nearly 8 million viewers and 5.4 million viewers aged 18-49."

The hot start for season three should come as a relief to producers after a lackluster season two.

"The FX anthology horror drama had ended its sophomore season with fewer viewers than its first season, which in a typical drama series, is not a good sign," Deadline notes. "Last season’s scarefest, 'American Horror Story: Asylum,' opened with a completely different storyline and an average audience 2.3 million viewers (a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo) -- 40% short of the franchise’s record-breaking first-season premiere crowd of 3.85 million, and 28% shy of the first-season ender’s 3.22 million."


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ABC Extends Order for Drama Series

ABC has given a vote of confidence to a new drama series, even after the show suffered a decline in viewers in its second and third outings. USA Today reports that the network gave a full-season order to "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

"The move is not at all surprising, as it represents ABC's highest-profile fall launch and a big collaboration between ABC and Marvel, both units of Walt Disney Co.," the story reports. "The show premiered Sept. 24 with a big 12.1 million viewers in same-day viewing, and marked fall's highest-rated debut among young-adult viewers. But that figure had dropped to fewer than 8 million for this week's third installment."

The show is ABC's first prime-time series based on Marvel comics, the report notes.

USA Today adds: "New series typically get a 13-episode order for fall; in success, nine additional episodes are produced to fill out (with repeats) an entire season. 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' marks ABC's first full-season extension; NBC already has given a thumbs-up to Monday drama 'The Blacklist.' And ABC's 'Lucky 7' and CBS's 'We Are Men' have been canceled."

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CBS Series Becomes Fall TV Season's Second Casualty

CBS has given a quick hook to one of its new fall shows, making it the second new series to bite the dust this season. B&C reports that the network yanked "We Are Men" from the schedule.

"Beginning next Monday, '2 Broke Girls' will take over 'We Are Men's' 8:30 p.m. time slot," the story reports. "Repeats of 'The Big Bang Theory' will air at 9 p.m. for the next three weeks, until Nov. 4 when 'Mike & Molly' returns for its fourth season premiere. Along with 'Mom' at 9:30 p.m., that hour will feature two Chuck Lorre-helmed series."

"We Are Men," starring Kal Penn, Chris Smith, Jerry O'Connell, Tony Shalhoub and Rebecca Breeds, never got any traction. The series premiered Sept. 30 to a 2.0 rating in the key 18-49 demo and 6.6 million total viewers, then fell to a 1.8 in the demo the following week, the report notes.

"'We Are Men' joins ABC's 'Lucky 7' as the season's casualties, while Fox already renewed 'Sleepy Hollow' for next season and NBC picked up 'The Blacklist' for a full season," the story reports.


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Report: Katie Couric's Talk Show in Trouble -- and It's Much More Than Just Low Ratings

Katie Couric's talk show could soon be canceled, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The story cites problems including soft ratings, a large budget and poor Q scores.

"Stations throughout the U.S. are contracted to carry Katie Couric's syndicated talk show through summer 2014, but the decision on whether 'Katie' will score a third season likely will be made this month -- and renewal seems a long shot," the story says.

Couric's Q scores report that only 10% of women view her favorably, the piece reports, noting that the initial budget of the show was $50 million, including $20 million for Couric over two years.

"But station owners now complain the daily strip hasn't lived up to the hype, and several insiders tell THR that internal discord has become nearly unbearable," the article notes.

One issue is that Couric hasn't added softer features to appeal to daytime's key 25-54 female demographic, instead preferring harder-edged news segments. In the meantime, her Q scores show that 21% of women view her in a negative light. Daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, meanwhile, has a 29% positive Q score and is only 14% negative.

The article adds: "A Couric source says she is adamant about doing a show she is proud of, and she is prepared to move on if the ratings don't back up her mission. Her contract with ABC News is said to expire next summer, so she could be a free agent or she could stay with ABC even if 'Katie' is canceled. One report has her in discussions with Yahoo, another possibility could be that she reunites with [Jeff] Zucker at CNN."

katie couric.pngKatie Couric

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Popular 1980s Drama Getting a Reboot -- The Original Series Launched the Career of a Big Movie Star

A popular 1980s drama series is being developed as a new series for NBC -- and this time around it will be a comedy. Deadline.com reports that the network has an update on the detective show "Remington Steele" in the works.

The original series, which aired from 1982-1987 on NBC, jump-started the career of Pierce Brosnan, who went on to play James Bond on the big screen from 1995-2004.

NBC is developing the project from 20th Century Fox TV, which owns rights to the original show, the story says. Also called "Remington Steele," the new project follows Olivia Holt, the daughter of Steele and Laura Holt, as she reopens the detective agency, the story says.

The original series starred Stephanie Zimbalist as a private detective who hires a con man, played by Brosnan, as the fictitious male boss for her agency. The pair get together on the series finale, the story notes.

"The dramedy, which co-starred Doris Roberts, helped establish shows with strong, independent women at the center and is credited as being a precursor to the similarly themed 'Moonlighting,'" the story notes.

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CNN Anchor Steps Into Health Care Debate

A CNN anchor has stirred up controversy with comments on health care and the Affordable Care Act. Writing in The New York Times, Bill Carter reports that CNN's Wolf Blitzer said on the air that the Obama administration should "accept the advice that a lot of Republicans are giving them” and delay the start of the Affordable Care Act for one year.

Carter writes: "The comment set off a noisy reaction online and in social media, with Republicans gleefully citing it as evidence that their position on the program has been correct."

CNN, meanwhile, had no comment on Blitzer's remarks. CNN aims for a nonpartisan approach to political coverage, Carter points out.

"Later, however, [Blitzer] made a post on Twitter that tried to indicate that the context of his comments was being misinterpreted. It said: 'Context matters. Earlier I said the govt shouldn’t launch a website before it works. I did not express a view about the individual mandate,'" Carter writes.

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Food Network's Ratings Continue to Fall After Dumping Paula Deen

Food Network ratings continue to slip after the cable channel cut Paula Deen from its programming lineup, although it's hard to say whether fan backlash from the decision is to blame, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

Ratings at Food Network were down in several key segments from June 24 to Oct. 6 when compared with the same time period in 2012. Total viewers slipped 6% during the time frame, and with the 18-49 group, ratings were down 13% in prime time, the piece notes.

The decline could be due to factors other than fan outrage at Deen's treatment by Food Network, the story notes.

"There’s an ebb and flow to these types of networks,” says Horizon Media Senior Vice President Brad Adgate. “But I think they’re still pretty solid. They are the category leader. They have over a million viewers every night. Advertisers love it. And they’ve invested a lot in new programming. If they put on a couple of shows that click, they’ll be right back.”

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Robin 'I'm the Twerkee' Thicke Sounds Off About the Miley Cyrus VMA Controversy

Singer Robin Thicke, who has been implicated in the frenzy surrounding Miley Cyrus' controversial performance at MTV's Video Music Awards, told Oprah Winfrey that he's not to blame for the incident.

"Listen, I'm the twerkee. I'm tweaked upon," Thicke told the talk show host, according to People magazine.

Thicke made the comments in an episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter," which will air Sunday at 9 p.m. on OWN.

"That's all on her," Thicke, 36, said about the performance. "I don't twerk myself, OK? I'm just twerked upon."

Thicke called the hoopla after the performance "silly" and "funny."

"I was on stage. I didn't see it. So to me, I'm walking out towards Miley [and] I'm not thinking sex. I'm thinking fun, you know? I mean her and I don't have that kind of -- you have to remember, I'm singing my butt off. I'm sitting there. I'm looking up at the sky, and I'm not really paying attention to all that," he said.

robin thicke miley cyrus mtv vma.pngRobin Thicke and Miley Cyrus at MTV's VMAs

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Two Esquire Magazine Features Headed to TV

Two franchises from Esquire magazine have been greenlighted as television productions. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the magazine sections "Women We Love" and "Best Bars in America" will join Esquire Network's programming lineup as specials this season.

"Women We Love" is a monthly feature in the print magazine, and will air coinciding with the magazine's "Sexiest Woman Alive" issue in November, the story says. The air date for the special is Nov. 19.

"Best Bars in America" will feature comedians Jay Larson and Sean Patton as they visit bars showcased in the magazine's feature. It will air in December.

"Both [specials] are perfect examples of how our partnership with Esquire offers the opportunity to extend some of their most popular features on air in ways that are really engaging and compelling,” said Matt Hanna, head of original programming at the network.

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'Master of the Contemporary Short Story' Wins Nobel Literature Prize

A heavily honored writer who has been called the "master of the contemporary short story" is the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Reuters reports that the prize was awarded to Canadian writer Alice Munro.

Munro also is the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work, and is a three-time winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for fiction.

Her work has been featured in countless publications including The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly. Among her many collections of short stories have been "Dance of the Happy Shades" (1968), "Lives of Girls and Women" (1971) and "The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose" (1978).

"'Some critics consider her a Canadian Chekhov,' the Swedish Academy said, comparing her to the 19th-century Russian short story writer in a statement on its website," Reuters reports. "Munro, reached by CBC Television in Victoria, British Columbia, said she hoped the award 'would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something you played around with until you get a novel written.'"

The report adds: "The 82-year-old, who revealed in 2009 that she had undergone coronary bypass surgery and been treated for cancer, said however that she did not think winning the prize would change her decision announced early this year to stop writing."

Munro said in response to the Nobel Prize, which is worth $1.25 million: "You know, I was always thrilled at whatever came along -- like if I got published, I was thrilled. I still am, in a way."

She added: "It just seems impossible. It seems so splendid a thing to happen, I can't describe it. It's more than I can say."

alice munro.pngAlice Munro

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From the Man Behind 'Revolution,' 'Person of Interest,' 'Lost,' 'Alias' and 'Felicity' ... ABC Developing New J.J. Abrams Project

ABC is working on a new comedy project from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot and "The Vow" writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, reports Deadline.com.

Called "Main Street," the ensemble project tracks friends who realize they can't make it in a big city and move to the Mississippi Delta, the story says.

ABC has given a script commitment to the project, which is executive produced by Kohn and Silverstein with Abrams and Bryan Burk.

jj abrams.pngJ.J. Abrams

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'Private Practice' Star Joins Coen Brothers Adaptation

One of the stars of the recently canceled ABC medical drama "Private Practice" is joining the cast of an FX series. Deadline.com reports that Kate Walsh is signing on with "Fargo," a 10-episode series based on Joel and Ethan Coen's 1996 movie.

The Coen brothers are executive producing the TV series, which will feature a new story and characters. Walsh will portray trophy wife Gina, who has twin sons. The project is from FX Productions and MGM Television.

"Private Practice," a spinoff of "Grey's Anatomy," went off the air in January of this year after six seasons on ABC. Walsh is also appearing in the Neil LaBute series "Full Circle" on DirecTV.

Actors Joey King and Josh Close have also reportedly joined the new "Fargo" project.

kate walsh.pngKate Walsh

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Separation, Reality Style: Split Between Kris and Bruce Jenner Likely to Be Featured on TV Show

The split between Kris and Bruce Jenner is expected to be showcased on reality television. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the couple's separation after 22 years of marriage is likely to be fodder for "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."

The report quotes a source close to E! saying: "The show will continue to address all aspects of the family's lives, and it's obvious to anyone who has been watching throughout the series that Kris and Bruce have always been open about their relationship."

The reality program is in the middle of its eighth season on E!.

The pair married in 1991 after dating for five months. Kris Jenner told TMZ.com this week that the separation has not been acrimonious, saying she and Bruce are still "best friends" and adding: "We're just happier living apart."

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Former Anchors of 'PBS NewsHour' to Give Up Ownership of the Show

The former anchors of "PBS NewsHour" are in talks to give up ownership of the show, reports Elizabeth Jensen in The New York Times. The anchors are Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil.

"In an internal letter sent to the staff Tuesday, Mr. Lehrer and Mr. MacNeil said they were talking with the Washington public television station WETA, the program’s co-producer, about taking over ownership of the nonprofit program, which is produced under contract for PBS," Jensen writes.

WETA's president, Sharon Rockefeller, learned of the offer with "delight and enthusiasm," the letter said, although details need to be worked out.

Lehrer and MacNeil said the reasons for stepping back from ownership include the need for fundraising and the fact that neither man is active in daily editorial decisions.

In MacNeil/Lehrer Productions' last fiscal year, the group fell short in corporate underwriting and needed cash infusions from PBS, the story says. Earlier this year, the company laid off employees when it closed its San Francisco and Denver offices.

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Ronan Farrow -- Mia Farrow's Son Whose Father Is Either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra -- Is Reportedly Talking to a Cable News Channel to Become an 'Anderson Cooper-Style Anchor'

"Ronan  Farrow -- the man with Woody Allen’s wit and Frank Sinatra’s charm -- is closing a deal with MSNBC to become a news correspondent and a future Anderson Cooper-style 'face of the network' anchor," reports the New York Post.

The story adds, "While MSNBC reps declined to comment, a network source tells us, 'They’re just finalizing the contract. Ronan is not going to get his own show off the bat, but they are going to develop him, have him work on stories and build his TV news credentials. He’ll work across the whole lineup. He’s 25, everybody knows he’s very bright, but he’s not getting his own show -- yet.' "

The story notes, "Farrow has been in the news after his mother, Mia Farrow, told Vanity Fair in a well-timed interview that her son, thought to be her biological child with Allen, was 'possibly' Sinatra’s son.

"Farrow handled the media storm with humor, tweeting: 'Listen, we’re all *possibly* Frank Sinatra’s son.' And in June he took a dig at Allen: 'Happy father’s day -- or as they call it in my family, happy brother-in-law’s day.' "

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Chief of Digital Division of NBC News Reportedly Negotiating to Head Up a News Division at Twitter

An executive at NBC News is reportedly negotiating to run a news division at Twitter.

"[Vivian] Schiller is in negotiations to become Twitter's first head of news after she was offered the newly created role, The Post has learned," writes Claire Atkinson and Keith Kelly in the print edition of the New York Post. In its online version, that was changed to "Schiller, 52, is in negotiations with the microblogging service to become its first head of news, The Post has learned. A source said that Schiller has yet to decide whether to take the newly created position. She was not immediately reachable. Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment."

All Things D first reported that Schiller was being considered for the job.

According to Schiller's official NBC bio, "As Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at NBC News, Vivian Schiller leads NBC News Digital, the digital division of NBC News. Her responsibilities include strategic oversight of the network’s presence on the web, in mobile and devices, and on social media, including NBCNews.com, TODAY.com, theGrio.com, NBCLatino.com, iVillage.com, NBCPolitics.com, Nightly News, Meet the Press, Rock Center, Dateline, Newsvine, EveryBlock, BreakingNews, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. She joined NBC in July of 2011."

Prior to joining NBC News, Schiller was the president and CEO of National Public Radio (NPR). Schiller resigned from NPR in 2011 "after back-to-back controversies involving the political views of an NPR analyst, Juan Williams, and two NPR fund-raising executives," according to The New York Times. Prior to joining NPR Schiller was in management at The New York Times.

The All Things D story says "Other candidates for the [Twitter news] position include Jim Roberts, formerly of the New York Times and most recently Reuters, as well as Emily Bell, the director of Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School.

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Fox News' New Prime-Time Star Tops Bill O'Reilly

Cable news ratings leader Fox News Channel may have a new star in its prime-time lineup. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that Megyn Kelly, a transplant from the channel's daytime lineup, improved 116% Tuesday night from her premiere Monday -- topping even Bill O'Reilly's numbers and leading all of cable news for the night.

"Chalk it up to the benefits of exposure or the unpredictable nature of cable news, but Fox News Channel's 'The Kelly File' more than doubled its demo haul on its second night," THR reports. "Megyn Kelly's new prime-time show jumped 38 percent with total viewers to 2.8 million and a whopping 116 percent among adults 25-54 to 623,000. The numbers not only bested combined competition from CNN's Piers Morgan and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Kelly also scored the rare distinction of topping lead-in and reigning cable news champ Bill O'Reilly in the key demographic -- by about 45,000 viewers."

The report adds: "For the night, Fox News averaged 2.43 million viewers and 508,949 adults 25-54. Closest competition MSNBC, which scored key demo wins on Monday in all hours but 8 p.m., averaged 958,420 viewers and 264,277 adults 25-54. Third-place CNN posted 577,591 viewers and 173,321 adults."

Fox's Sean Hannity, who was shuffled to 10 p.m. as part of the Megyn Kelly reconfiguration, also did better Tuesday night. "The pundit averaged 2.17 million viewers and 517,047 demo viewers, also topping CNN and MSNBC competition combined," THR reports. "At 7 p.m. Greta Van Susteren was also up from the night before, edging out Chris Matthews in the demo with 317,401 adults 25-54 and topping the hour with 1.81 million viewers."

The report cautions that the early numbers may not be indicative of a trend for the new lineup, with the substantial fluctuation between Monday and Tuesday being one indication of the ratings volatility.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for megyn-kelly.jpgMegyn Kelly

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'Breaking Bad' Was Offered $75 Million for Three More Episodes, With the Offer Coming From a Famous Media Mogul Who Says He's 'Nuts for the Show'

A week and a half after the finale of the Emmy-winning AMC drama series "Breaking Bad," news surfaced that Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg offered "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan and his crew $75 million to make three more episodes.

Vanity Fair reports that the additional episodes would have picked up where the finale left off. (Spoiler alert: If you haven't yet watched the finale and don't want to know what happens in it, you may not want to read on -- although we've toned down the reveal from what Vanity Fair reports.)

"Katzenberg revealed his zany master plan in Cannes today, while delivering a speech to television executives at the annual TV-and-entertainment market Mipcom," Vanity Fair reports. The piece quotes Katzenberg saying: “I had this crazy idea. I was nuts for the show. I had no idea where this season was going.”

Vanity Fair adds: "Alas, Katzenberg wanted to heave cash barrels at Gilligan not because of his own love for the series, or because of his valiant desire to give the world closure on the Huell-subplot front. Katzenberg was ready to heave cash barrels at Gilligan to create more cash barrels."

Said Katzenberg: “The last series cost about $3.5 million an episode.” He then added: “So they would make more profit from these three shows than they made from five years of the entire series.”

Vanity Fair reports: "Katzenberg’s plan involved spreading the new 'Breaking Bad' content over 30 days by making six-minute increments available via a pay-per-view platform."

Said Katzenberg: “I said [to them], ‘I’m going to create the greatest pay-per-view television event for scripted programming anybody’s ever done." He would have charged between 50 and 99 cents for each mini-installment, Vanity Fair reports, adding: "The aspiring 'Breaking Bad' dealer soon discovered that his idea would be negated by the writing staff’s plan to close the series on ... a conclusive note."

The piece adds: "Although three more episodes of 'Breaking Bad' sounds brilliant on paper, the idea of having to experience those bonus episodes in six-minute fragments sounds like unreasonably cruel punishment for viewers. Just because the plan did not work for 'Breaking Bad' does not mean that Katzenberg is giving up on this business strategy, though."

Said Katzenberg: “I just think that there is a whole new platform for (short form) entertainment ... and the higher the quality of the stuff that fills it, the higher people will be paid for the work that they are doing there.”

jeffrey katzenberg.pngJeffrey Katzenberg

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Big Ratings Drop for One of the Early Hits of the Fall Season

A new series that has been one of the early hits of the fall broadcast season suffered a big drop in the ratings Tuesday night, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the series, ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." -- which has the unenviable task of opening prime time opposite NBC's ratings juggernaut "The Voice" -- lost five-tenths of a ratings point in the demo from last week's 3.3 average, settling for a 2.8 last night.

But that was better than the other heavyweight contender in that Tuesday 8 p.m. slot -- CBS's "NCIS" fell eight-tenths to a 2.7.

The 8 p.m. hour on Tuesday nights is shaping up as one of the most hotly contested in broadcast prime. NBC's two-hour "The Voice" won the night with a 2.9 average in viewers 18-49, putting three hot shows on three broadcast networks within two-tenths of a point of each other.

CBS hung in there during the 9 p.m. hour, with "NCIS: Los Angeles" losing just one-tenth from last week in the 18-49 demo to come in with a 2.6, part of a solid second-place performance for the night. ABC's lead-out from "Marvel's Agents," "The Goldbergs," slipped two-tenths to a 2.0.

NBC continued to flex its muscle after "The Voice," winning the 10 p.m. hour with "Chicago Fire," even as the show lost four-tenths from last week in adults 18-49 to record a 2.2 average. CBS's "Person of Interest" was close behind with a 2.0, off one-tenth from a week ago. ABC bailed out after two hours of full-on combat, airing a repeat of "Scandal" at 10 p.m. and settling for a 1.0 average.

Earlier, ABC's "Trophy Wife" matched last week's 1.4 in viewers 18-49.

Fox's lineup of fresh programming ceded the spotlight to the battle among the other three top networks, as Fox came in fourth overall. "New Girl" was the network's showpiece, rising two-tenths to a 2.1. "Dads" equaled last week's 1.3 average in 18-49, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" ticked up one-tenth to a 1.5, and "The Mindy Project" dipped one-tenth to a 1.4.

For prime time overall, the numbers shape up like this: NBC led the way in the 18-49 demo with a 2.7 average rating, followed by CBS (2.4 average), ABC (1.8), Fox (1.6) and Univision (1.3). CBS wound up with a big lead in total viewers, averaging 14.8 million to lead NBC (9.2 million), ABC (5.4 million), Univision (3.401 million) and Fox (3.362 million).

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Fox Buys Legal Drama From '24' Team

Following their reteaming for "24: Live Another Day," former "24" showrunner and executive producer Howard Gordon and executive producer Evan Katz are keeping the partnership going, Deadline.com reports.

"Fox, the network of '24' and the upcoming event series '24: Live Another Day,' has given a script commitment with penalty to 'Trial of the Century,' a serialized legal thriller from 20th Century Fox TV and two studio-based companies, Gordon’s Teakwood Lane and Bryan Furst, Sean Furst and Richard Shepard’s Olé," the story reports.

Katz is writing the project as part of his deal with 20th Television, the piece notes.

"'Trial of the Century' is told from the POV of a young Latina attorney working on a unique high-profile case," the story reports. "Katz, Gordon, Bryan & Sean Furst and Shepard are executive producing, with Shepard attached to direct if the project goes to pilot."

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CBS Locks In Plans, Sets Date for Tony Awards

CBS announced plans to broadcast the Tony Awards ceremony, locking in the date and getting the ball rolling for a live broadcast on the East Coast and a delayed West Coast airing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The show is set for June 8, 2014, with the ceremony taking place at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

"In recent years CBS has struggled with falling ratings for the Tonys, which has traditionally been the least-viewed of the major entertainment award shows. But the 2013 broadcast saw a significant bump in viewers to 7.24 million, up from 6 million in 2012," the report notes.

The story adds: "It was the largest TV audience the ceremony has drawn in several years. Actor and award-show-axiom Neil Patrick Harris has served as the host of the show for the last three ceremonies."

CBS has a deal to carry the Tony Awards until 2018, the piece notes. Nominations for next year's awards are set to be announced April 29.

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Fox Pulls Plug on Upcoming Series

Fox has made the decision not to go forward with a series. Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva reports that the network pulled the plug on the midseason animated comedy series "Murder Police."

"I hear the decision was made by Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly after reading scripts and watching footage of upcoming episodes," Andreeva writes. "Because of the nature of animation production, there is work done on various episodes at the same time though I hear there is no completed episode yet."

Despite Fox's decision, producer 20th Century Fox TV will continue with the 13-episode order and seek to sell the series to another network, the piece notes.

Only one show, "Bob's Burgers," has joined Fox's "Animation Domination" Sunday programming block since Reilly joined in 2007, Andreeva points out. "Murder Police" tracks an inept detective and his less-than-stellar co-workers.

Andreeva adds: "With the stealth cancellation of 'The Cleveland Show,' upcoming move of 'American Dad!" to TBS and demise of 'Murder Police,' there will be only three returning shows next season in Fox’s Sunday animated block that runs for as many as three hours when there is no football."

She continues: "Because of the long production cycle on an animated series, it is almost impossible to have a new animated comedy series ready for next fall unless the network transplants one of the projects from its ADHD Saturday late-night block."

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It's the End of the Road for a Disney Tradition That Has Been a Hit With Collectors

In a blow to collectors and fans of Disney and its characters such as Bambi, Dumbo and Mickey Mouse, The Walt Disney Co. plans to stop issuing paper stock certificates in favor of electronic forms, reports Bloomberg. The company's paper certificates are decorated with Disney characters, along with a picture of Walt Disney.

Investors will be reissued electronic forms when they transfer shares, Disney said in a regulatory filing. The changes will take place Oct. 16.

Some investors bought the Disney certificates for children as a way to get them interested in investing, and the documents were among the most popular items at GiveAShare.com, a company that sells stock certificates in frames, the story notes.

Other companies long ago switched to electronic forms as a way to save money.

"It’s such a PR tool for them,” said Bob Kerstein, the founder of Scripophily.com, a collector's site. “Disney was the major holdout. I’m pretty surprised. Everybody’s in cost-cutting mode.”

disney stock certificate.jpg

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35 Years After It Went Off the Air, a TV Show Is Coming Back -- as a Comic Book

A TV series that went off the air in 1978 is coming back in comic book form. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that "The Six Million Dollar Man," which aired on ABC for five seasons, will hit the stands early next year.

Dynamite Entertainment is coming out with "The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 6," a series of monthly comic books that will pick up where the final season ended, the story says.

"We went out of our way to use the 'Kung Fu Slow Motion', the sound effects, and all the oddities of that era so the comic book would feel like the original TV series," said writer James Kuhoric.

The sixth "season" will feature Maskatron, a robotic villain that was made into a toy tie-in.

"In discussions, we contemplated: Why not bring into the series a villain whom fans would know from the toys, even though he wasn't in the TV series?" asked Dynamite CEO and Publisher Nick Barrucci.

The comic book will be released in February 2014, just after the series' 40th anniversary year. The ABC show debuted in January 1974.

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NBC Wins Second Week of Fall Season, Notches Its Best Week-Two Rating in Six Years

The story of the new TV season appears to be NBC, which is on a ratings roll. The network has now won both the first and second week of the fall TV season, based on Nielsen Media Research figures for the key 18-49 demo, with NBC's week-two ratings being the network's best for the week in six years.

Following results for week two, NBC had a 2.9 season average in the demo and held a season lead of 21%, the biggest margin for any network at this point in the season in 11 years.

NBC was No. 2 in total viewers for the season behind CBS, NBC's best ranking at this point in the season in the past 10 years.

The network's "Sunday Night Football" and "The Voice" accounted for three of the top four shows of the season so far on the big four broadcast networks in the 18-49 demo.

NBC won all six broadcast prime-time half-hours on Monday in the 18-49 demo, with "The Voice" and "The Blacklist" being the No. 1 and No. 2 shows of the night, respectively.

"The Blacklist" retained 97% of its premiere rating in "Live Plus Three Day" figures and set a broadcast record as the first show to add 5 million viewers in L+3, the network said.

On the strength of "The Voice" and "Chicago Fire," NBC won the first two Tuesdays of the season in the 18-49 demo for the first time in eight years.

Additionally, the Thursday premiere of "Sean Saves the World" improved 27% on its lead-in, and "The Michael J. Fox Show" grew 21% from its lead-in, while the premiere of "Welcome to the Family" retained 92% of its lead-in.

NBC is up 4% versus one year ago in 18-49 (2.9 vs. 2.8) to its highest two-week average in five years (since 2008, 3.1).

In a statement touting its early-season ratings strength, the network noted: "NBC’s early-season leadership comes on the heels of the network’s #2 finish for the 2012-13 broadcast year in 18-49, which marked the first time NBC has finished the year ahead of Fox or ABC without Olympic or Super Bowl help since 2002-03."

Here are the numbers:

Week two averages, adults 18-49:

NBC 2.8/8, 3.6 million
CBS 2.5/7, 3.1 million
ABC 2.1/6, 2.6 million
Fox 1.8/5, 2.2 million
CW 0.5/2, 0.7 million

(Each rating point equals 1.27 million viewers)

Week two averages, total viewers:

CBS 3.7/10, 10.9 million
NBC 3.0/8, 8.7 million
ABC 2.5/7, 7.4 million
Fox 1.6/4, 4.8 million
CW 0.5/1, 1.4 million

(Each rating point equals 2.95 million viewers)

Season to date, adults 18-49:

NBC 2.9/9, 3.7 million
CBS 2.4/7, 3.0 million
ABC 2.2/6, 2.8 million
Fox 2.0/6, 2.5 million
CW 0.4/1, 0.5 million

(Each rating point equals 1.27 million viewers)

Season to date, total viewers:

CBS 3.6/9, 10.6 million
NBC 3.1/8, 9.2 million
ABC 2.6/7, 7.7 million
Fox 1.8/5, 5.4 million
CW 0.4/1, 1.1 million

(Each rating point equals 2.89 million viewers)

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A&E Unveils New Brand ID Marking Its Transition to 100% Original Programming in Prime Time

A&E is rolling out a comprehensive new brand identity, including a new on-air look and the new tagline "Be Original," the cable channel announced today.

David McKillop, General Manager & Executive Vice President of A&E Network, made the announcement, noting that the channel is wrapping up an unprecedented 10th consecutive year of growth.

“A&E has always been a leader in quality original programming and has enjoyed a decade of growth. Our new tagline embodies who we are and not just what we do,” said McKillop. “From ‘Duck Dynasty’ to ‘Bates Motel,’ we are 100% original with the most unique characters and content in television. BE ORIGINAL is much more than a tagline, it’s a rallying cry for our programmers and marketers to always take creative risks, perpetually innovate, inspire and engage the next generation of viewers.”

In a statement announcing the new network identity, A&E said: "A&E has undergone a dramatic and successful transformation to a premium entertainment network, and is now firmly seated among the top five networks on cable. The network has also made good on its promise to become 100% original in prime time, a dramatic differentiation from other top tier networks."

The rollout for the new brand identity and tagline is set for Dec. 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, during the “Duck Dynasty” Christmas special.

A&E Be Original Duck Dynasty.jpg

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Kris and Bruce Jenner Separate After 22 Years of Marriage

Reality television couple Kris and Bruce Jenner have separated after 22 years of marriage, reports E! Online. "We are living separately and we are much happier this way," they told the publication. "But we will always have much love and respect for each other. Even though we are separated, we will always remain best friends and, as always, our family will remain our number one priority."

While there had been rumors of marital problems, the Jenners had kept up a "unified front," the story says. Kris and Bruce have two children together, Kendall and Kylie, while each have children from earlier marriages, including Kim Kardashian, the daughter of Kris Jenner.

Bruce Jenner spent time in a home he had rented in Malibu in the current season of "Keeping up with the Kardashians," the story notes.

kris and bruce jenner.pngKris and Bruce Jenner

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TNT Renews Docu-Drama, Cites Its Impact on Real-World Cases

TNT has renewed a docu-drama series. The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that the cable channel will bring back "Cold Justice" for a second season. The show ranks as one of the top five new unscripted shows on basic cable this year, the story notes.

The show, from Wolf Films and Magical Elves, has led to a number of real-world legal actions, such as a guilty plea in a Texas case and three murder indictments in a Louisiana case, the story notes.

"We're very proud to be renewing 'Cold Justice,' which has already delivered real-world results for several of the cases featured on the show," said David Eilenberg, TNT's senior vice president of unscripted development, in a statement.

The first season of the show ends Oct. 22, with the second season slated for an early 2014 debut.

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Fox Orders Steve Carell's Unscripted Comedy Series

Fox has ordered eight episodes of an unscripted comedy series from Steve Carell, which will feature celebrities performing sketch comedies on a slanted set, reports TheWrap.com.

The set for the series, "Slide Show," is tilted at a 22.5-degree angle, forcing two teams of celebrities and comedians to navigate the tilt while performing song, dance and sketch challenges, the story says.

Carell will executive produce the project, which is from Shine America.

"Comedy is subjective,” Carell said. “But if you don’t find ‘Slide Show’ to be funny and enormously entertaining, then you will never be my friend.”

steve carell.pngSteve Carell

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NBC Has Supernatural Project in the Pipeline

NBC is working on a supernatural project, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports. The network is working with "Eureka" creator Andrew Cosby on the show, "Strange Fiction," according to the report.

The drama is about a young book editor who is pulled into the supernatural by an investigator of the paranormal, who might be insane, the story says.

Cosby will write and executive produce the project, which is from Universal Television. "Eureka," a popular Syfy drama, ended last year after five seasons.

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Kanye West Books Appearance on 'Jimmy Kimmel' to Discuss Their Rap Feud

Kanye West will appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" tonight, Wednesday, with the pair expected to talk about their "rap feud," reports EW.com's Inside TV.

As previously reported, West demanded an apology over Kimmel's skit that included a child actor re-enacting some of West's comments. West also launched a Twitter tirade against Kimmel.

On Tuesday's episode of his show, Kimmel said, "Kanye and I had a disagreement a couple of weeks ago -- and it got a little bit out of hand. Tomorrow night, we will sit down and discuss it like normal people do -- on television.”

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'Modern Family' Opens Its Syndication Run With a Bang

Besides being a ratings hit in its first run on ABC, "Modern Family" is now a hit in syndication. B&C reports that the comedy's off-network run opened at a 4.1 live plus same day national household rating for the week ended Sept. 29.

"That marks the second-highest syndication debut in 10 years, behind only Warner Bros.' 'The Big Bang Theory,' which premiered in 2011 at a 4.5," the story reports.

The ABC comedy also scored high with women, earning the No. 1 spot with women among all syndication debuts in more than a decade, Deadline.com reports.

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'Sleepy Hollow' Co-Creator Signs With 20th Century Fox TV

A co-creator of the freshman Fox series "Sleepy Hollow" has signed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Deadline.com reports that Len Wiseman signed with 20th, the studio behind the show.

The deal comes soon after Fox's second-season pickup of the supernatural drama. Wiseman will continue as an executive producer on the show, while also working on new projects through Sketch Films, his production company.

Wiseman's direction is credited with propelling the pilot to the list of front runners in the last development season, the story notes.

"Len brilliantly directed and produced the 'Sleepy Hollow' pilot and truly helped define the series,” said 20th TV Chairman Gary Newman. “We knew the minute he delivered the first cut that this was a gifted artist we wanted to be in business with long term."

Wiseman previously directed the pilot for CBS's reboot of "Hawaii Five-0," which is now in its fourth season.

len wiseman.pngLen Wiseman

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Thanksgivukkah Is Coming, for the First Time in 125 Years. It's Our Non-TV Story of the Day

As Mike Myers used to say on "Saturday Night Live," many of our Jewish friends are "all verklempt!"

That's because Thanksgivukkah is coming.

As the Associated Press reports: "An extremely rare convergence this year of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah has created a frenzy of Talmudic proportions." In  other words, this year, for the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving and one of the days of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah overlap. Thanksgiving, on Nov. 28, 2013, coincides with the second night of Hanukkah.

The story continues, "'It's pretty amazing to me that in this country we can have rich secular and rich religious celebrations and that those of us who live in both worlds can find moments when they meet and can really celebrate that convergence. There are a lot of places in the world where we would not be able to do that,' said Rabbi David Paskin, co-head of the Kehillah Schechter Academy in Norwood, Mass."

The article adds, "The lunisolar nature of the Jewish calendar makes Hanukkah and other religious observances appear to drift slightly from year to year when compared to the U.S., or Gregorian, calendar."

So when will Thanksgiving and Hanukkah next overlap? Says the story, "[T]he next time [it happens] may have Jews lighting their candles from spaceships 79,043 years from now, by one calculation."

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In Rare Move CBS Makes a Pilot It Didn't Pick Up -- Featuring One of the Stars of the 'Harry Potter' Films -- Available for Millions to Watch

Most pilots that the networks don't pick up never see the light of day. Or, at best, they may be run once over the summer.

But CBS has made one of the pilots it didn't pick up this fall available for millions to see, according to our friend Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

Writes Andreeva: "In a rare exception, CBS has put Greg Garcia‘s single-camera pilot 'Super Clyde' up online. ... The move is a result from a request by Garcia, who sent out an email announcing the pilot’s availability. 'Super Clyde' was one of two pilots Garcia had at CBS this past season, with the other, the multicamera 'The Millers,' getting a series order."

The story adds: " 'Super Clyde' stars 'Harry Potter's' Rupert Grint (who played Ron Weasley) as a shy comic book fanatic who discovers his calling after he inherits millions of dollars from his eccentric uncle."

You can watch "Super Clyde" by clicking here.

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NBC Dominates Monday Night Broadcast Ratings

NBC had the two highest-rated shows in broadcast prime time Monday night, rolling to a dominant win for the night, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

The decisive win came even as both NBC shows were down slightly. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the network's two-hour installment of "The Voice" delivered a 4.5 average rating in 18-49 to easily finish as the top show of the night, but that number was off two-tenths from a week ago. The new drama "The Blacklist" slipped one-tenth to a 3.2, still easily winning the 10 p.m. hour.

Second-place Fox was paced by its new drama "Sleepy Hollow," which lost three-tenths of a point from a week ago to settle for a 2.7 average in the 18-49 demo. "Bones" dipped two-tenths to a 2.0.

ABC's two-hour "Dancing With the Stars" improved slightly, rising one-tenth in viewers 18-49 to a 2.1. "Castle" fell two-tenths to a 2.0.

CBS had a rough ratings night, as all of its programs lost ground from a week ago and the network finished fourth among the big four in adults 18-49, while also surrendering its traditional advantage in total viewers.

CBS's "2 Broke Girls" fell two-tenths from last week to record an all-time series low with a 2.2 average rating in 18-49. "How I Met Your Mother" was the network's top show with a 2.9, down two-tenths from a week ago. The new show "We Are Men" continued to struggle to find an audience, losing two-tenths to notch a 1.8. "Mom" also lost two-tenths, falling to a 2.0. And the rough start continued for the drama "Hostages," which managed only a 1.2 at 10 p.m., falling three-tenths from a week ago.

For prime time overall, NBC won the 18-49 demo with a 4.1 average rating, well ahead of Fox (2.3 average), ABC (2.1), CBS (1.9) and Univision (1.3). NBC also eked out a win in total viewers, averaging 13.3 million to outdistance ABC (12.3 million), Fox (7.4 million), CBS (6.2 million) and Univision (3.3 million).

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What Was the Most-Watched Non-Sports Program in Cable Prime Sunday Night? The Answer May Surprise You

The most-watched program on cable in Sunday prime time, excluding sports, probably wasn't a show that would immediately come to mind. Deadline.com reports that the honor went to the TLC show "Long Island Medium."

The show delivered 2.6 million viewers for its midseason premiere, based on Nielsen data.

"'LIM' beat the unveiling of Lifetime’s new 'Witches of East End' (1.9 million), a reunion special of Bravo’s 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' (2.5 million) and an episode of E!’s 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' (2.3 million), among other programs," Deadline reports. "'LIM' was cable’s No. 1 ranked non-sports program among women 25-54 in prime time, and No. 1 in its time slot in the demo. Sunday night’s premiere episode was also the series’ highest-rated episode in nearly a year with viewers, homes and key female demos."

The program was boosted by a Twitter tie-in, the report notes. "The debut episode ranked as the network’s best social media night ever, ranking No. 1 among all TV excluding sports. Not coincidentally, the fourth season’s midseason debut featured a live Twitter event where four viewers won all-expenses-paid trips to Theresa Caputo for readings," the report notes.

The piece adds: "The Twitter-fueled 'Long Island Medium' event, which featured dozens of real-time fan tweets on air, dominated social conversation, ranking No. 1 among all TV programs, excluding sports. The show’s daytime walk-up marathon and prime-time midseason debut nabbed 12 of the Top 15 spots across all TV episodes for the day (Source: SocialGuide). Generating more than 1 million tweets throughout the day, 'Long Island Medium' drove TLC’s most social night ever -- about 165,000 fans of Caputo tweeting while watching the show. The #LongIslandMedium hashtag was used more than 880,000 times -- trending on Twitter in the U.S. along with eight other terms and hashtags. It was the first time the TLC show featured the stunt -- it won’t be the last."

Theresa-Caputo.jpgTheresa Caputo -- Long Island Medium

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'Suburgatory' Creator Finds Broadcast Home for Modern 'My Fair Lady' Sitcom

The creator of "Suburgatory" has landed a big four broadcast home for her first project since that show -- a new comedy inspired by "My Fair Lady," The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The new project, "Selfie," from Emily Kapnek, received a put pilot commitment from ABC, the story reports.

"'Selfie' is inspired by the classic musical about a flower girl who takes speech lessons in order to pass as a 'well-born' lady," THR reports. "Kapnek's modern update will tell the story of a self-obsessed 20-something woman who is more concerned with 'likes' than being liked. After suffering a public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media 'followers' than she ever imagined -- but for all the wrong reasons. She enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image."

The project, a single-camera comedy, expands Kapnek's relationship with ABC, which renewed "Suburgatory" in May for a third season, expected to roll out in midseason.

"Kapnek will pen the script [for 'Selfie'] and executive produce via her Warner Bros. Television-based Piece of Pie Productions banner," the report adds. Kapnek's TV credits also include "Hung" and "Parks and Recreation."

emily kapnek.jpgEmily Kapnek

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New Syfy Series Keeps Up Jim Henson's Legacy

The NBCUniversal-owned cable channel Syfy has a new series in the works that will continue the legacy of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that Syfy ordered an eight-episode run for "Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge,' a reality competition show that will award the winner a $100,000 prize along with a job at the studio.

"Each episode will see 10 contestants competing to build mechanical characters and whimsical beasts and bringing high-end inanimate creature designs to life," THR reports. "Brian Henson, chairman of The Jim Henson Co. and Creature Shop, will serve as the lead judge on the series. Brian Henson is also an award-winning writer, director and producer as well as a creature designer who learned from his father, Jim. His credits include 'Labryinth,' 'The Storyteller,' 'Farscape,' 'Muppets Tonight' and 'Dinosaurs,' among countless others."

Mark Stern, Syfy's president of original content, said: "As 'Face Off' does with SFX makeup application, 'Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge' showcases the incredible imagination and artistry of lifelike creature construction. The Creature Shop has set the bar for a caliber of work that is unmatched in quality, design and sheer imagination."

THR adds: "Designer Peter Brooke, animatronics master John Criswell and fabrication/artistic specialist Julie Zobel -- all fixtures at the Creature Shop -- will serve as mentors on the series."

The story also notes: "Brian Henson will exec produce alongside his sister/Henson Co. CEO Lisa Henson, who during her tenure as Columbia Pictures president oversaw features including 'Men in Black.' Joseph Freed and Rob Bagshaw will also exec produce."

The series is set to roll out during the first quarter of next year.

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Video: Paul McCartney Claims He Invented the 'Selfie' ... and the Photobomb

Paul McCartney, appearing on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," made a number of claims as Fallon unearthed a series of old Beatles photos -- all in good fun, of course.

Here's the clip:

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Report: 'The Voice' Judge Accused of Date Rape -- District Attorney Eyeing Possible Charges

The Los Angeles Police Department is reportedly working on an investigation to help determine whether "The Voice" judge CeeLo Green will be charged with date rape, reports TMZ.com.

A woman accused the singer of spiking her drink with ecstasy at a restaurant last year, and claims the next thing she remembered was waking up naked with Green in the room, the story says.

"Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, LAPD detectives submitted the case to the L.A. County D.A. but prosecutors were not satisfied with the evidence and kicked the case back to the cops for further investigation. The re-investigation has taken months ... we're told more than 5," the article reports.

The piece adds: "We're also told cops may have been looking for additional witnesses to break the he-said/she-said stalemate. Sources close to CeeLo remain adamant ... the woman's allegations are NOT true."

ceelogreen-purrfect.jpgCeeLo Green

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More Than 100 Lost Episodes of a Beloved Science-Fiction Show From the 1960s Are Found

At least 100 lost episodes of a much-loved science-fiction show have been tracked down by fans of the program, with the lost installments of "Doctor Who" found in Ethiopia, reports the U.K. paper The Mirror.

It had been feared that the episodes, which were from the 1960s, had been lost after the BBC got rid of old footage, the story reports. The episodes feature the first two actors to play the Doctor, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, and were found at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.

"The recovered episodes from the '60s include much-loved scenes from 'The Crusade,' 'The Enemy of the World' and 'The Ice Warriors' series," the story says. "After each airing only once between 1964 and 1969, copies were sold to the Ethiopian Agency and the BBC then lost or wiped the originals."

The episodes could be digitally remastered, and the BBC could make millions by selling them to fans, the story notes.

william hartnell doctor who.jpgWilliam Hartnell -- the original Doctor Who

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Miley Cyrus Has a Message for Anyone Over 40

In a high-profile interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today," Miley Cyrus, who has been making headlines in recent weeks for her sexually charged MTV Video Music Awards performance and her naked "Wrecking Ball" video, said people over 40 "don't have sex anymore," reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

The piece notes that it's unclear whether the pop singer was serious.

"I heard when you turn 40 things start to go a little less sexual," Cyrus said. "So probably around 40, around that time, I heard that’s when people don’t have sex anymore."

Lauer appeared taken off guard, but asked Cyrus how old she thought he was. She answered 40, and Lauer reported he was 55, the story notes.

"Well, then you’re really, definitely not sexual," Cyrus replied.

The article notes, "If teenagers' parents didn't already hate Cyrus, they probably do now. Which may have been the whole point of her responses."

Thumbnail image for Miley-Cyrus-2012.jpgMiley Cyrus

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New Johnny Carson Book Claims He Broke Into His Wife's Apartment, Found Photos of Frank Gifford

A new book by Henry Bushkin, the attorney for late-night legend Johnny Carson, includes a story about how the TV host broke into his wife's apartment to find evidence of an affair, according to an excerpt on EW.com. Carson allegedly found photos of football great Frank Gifford, causing him to "weep."

The incident relates to Carson's second wife, Joanne Copeland, whom he married months after divorcing his first wife, Jody. Carson had found out that Joanne had "secretly leased an apartment within blocks of their UN Plaza home, which she used for clandestine rendezvous with her lover," Bushkin notes. Once inside, Carson and Bushkin found several photographs of Gifford, who later married "Today" co-host Kathie Lee Gifford.

"For the first time I realized her noontime buddy was Frank Gifford, the former New York Giants football great. One of the pictures showed Frank and Joanne at a restaurant table against some tropical resort-like background," Bushkin writes. "Crushed by the overwhelming amount of evidence, Carson leaned against the living room wall and began to weep. It was a painfully uncomfortable moment."

Later, Carson bemoaned the evidence and made jokes about it, Bushkin writes.

"'Why Frank Gifford?' he asked. 'What’s that a--hole got that I don’t have?' I wasn’t sure where he was going with this but maybe nowhere good. The mood appeared to be swinging back. 'That guy plays three positions on the field,' he said. 'I could never get Joanne to go for more than two.' His deadpan timing was perfect," Bushkin writes.

Carson and Joanne Copeland divorced in 1972.

The book, "Johnny Carson," will be published Oct. 15.

Thumbnail image for johnny-carson.jpgJohnny Carson

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High-Profile Departure for Cable Channel

Logo is losing its general manager, with Lisa Sherman departing the Viacom Network after running the day-to-day operations starting with its 2005 debut, reports Nellie Andreeva on Deadline.com.

"This marks an end of an era for Logo, started by then-President Brian Graden with Sherman as his top lieutenant," Andreeva writes.

In 2008, Sherman was named general manager and executive vice president.

"The move to put Logo under the MTV umbrella, reporting to MTV President Stephen Friedman, will likely accelerate the transformation of Logo from a network strictly focused on the LGBT community [into] one that caters to wider audience, which started last year," the piece notes. "It is unclear whether the group will drop Logo from its name as the channel gets so closely aligned with MTV."

lisa-sherman.pngLisa Sherman

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Comedian's New Show Lands at ABC

ABC has bought a comedy from a stand-up comedian who has been making a name for himself with TV roles, feature films and comedy tours. The comedian, Kevin Hart, is likely to appear in a recurring role in the project, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The network gave a put pilot commitment to the project, which is based on Hart's stand-up routine and will look at the life of a couple after a divorce. The project is from "Community's" Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan. Hart does not plan to star, but is expected to have a recurring role, the piece adds.

Hart stars on BET's "Real Husbands of Hollywood," which he also executive produces. He has a string of appearances on TV series, including ABC's "Modern Family."

His stand-up tours sell out at top venues -- he reportedly grossed $15 million from his 2011 "Laugh at My Pain" tour -- and his latest live concert video, "Let Me Explain," grossed $32 million, the piece reports.

kevin hart.jpgKevin Hart

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Pop Singer Calls for Music Video Rating System, Decrying 'Porn'

A well-known pop singer is pushing for ratings for music videos, calling for a rating system along the lines of how movies are categorized, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

Annie Lennox, who made the comments in a BBC radio interview, also wrote on her Facebook page about her concerns regarding some envelope-pushing music videos.

"There is absolutely nothing 'wrong' about our sexuality or sensuality per se," Lennox wrote on her Facebook page. "Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don't think so. Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren't barraged by market forces exploiting the 'normalization' of explicit sex in under age entertainment."

While she didn't single out any particular performer, she may be inspired by Miley Cyrus' recent performance at MTV's VMAs, where she twerked and performed lewd gestures with a foam hand, the Times notes.

Lennox has sold more than 80 million records worldwide in her solo career and through her work as the lead singer of Eurythmics, known for hits including "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and "Here Comes the Rain Again."

In another entry on her Facebook page, Lennox wrote: "I have to say that I'm disturbed and dismayed by the recent spate of overtly sexualized performances and videos. You know the ones I'm talking about. It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment." She added: "As long as there's booty to make money out of, it will be bought and sold. It's depressing to see how these performers are so eager to push this new level of low."

annie lennox.jpgAnnie Lennox

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ABC Developing Project With 'Wilfred' Co-Creator

ABC is developing a comedy based on the Peruvian series "My Problem With Women," which comes from "Wilfred" co-creator Jason Gann, reports Deadline.com.

Gann, who also co-stars in the FX show about a man and his talking dog, will write and executive produce the adaptation of "My Problem With Women," with Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory of "Frasier" serving as co-showrunners, the story says.

The project is about a 30-something single man who goes into therapy after all his romantic relationships fail, the story says.

As previously reported, FX renewed "Wilfred" for a fourth season, but also said that it would be the show's last. The final season will air on sister network FXX.

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New Show From 'Everwood' Creator Greg Berlanti and 'Smash' Writers Lands at CBS

CBS is buying a comedy from Greg Berlanti and "Smash" writers Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The comedy, which has a put pilot commitment, is about three moms living in a Brooklyn apartment building who help each other out. The project is based on an Israeli show called "Little Mom," the story says.

The comedy will be produced for CBS by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros., with Rottenberg and Zuritsky writing and executive producing. Berlanti will executive produce, while Melissa Kellner Berman will co-executive produce.

Berlanti has racked up a long string of TV credits over the past 15 years, including creating "Everwood" and executive producing ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money." Early in his career he was a writer and producer on "Dawson's Creek."

greg berlanti.pngGreg Berlanti

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WGN America Buys Off-Network Rights to CBS Drama Series

WGN America, which has been building up its programming slate, has bought the off-network rights to the CBS drama series "Person of Interest," reports Nellie Andreeva on Deadline.com.

The show, which is in its third season, will start airing on WGN in the fall of 2015, marking the first time the network has bought the exclusive cable window to a syndicated show, the story points out.

The series "is the first high-profile network procedural drama to come down the pike in 2.5 years," the article notes. "Warner Bros. took its time with the well reviewed drama, waiting for the right time when more buyers were available. The company recently took 'POI' out to multiple cable networks, with WGN being the most aggressive, landing the series for what I hear is a license fee in the $1.1-1.5 million range per episode."

Thumbnail image for person-of-interest.jpg

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New Supernatural Drama Opens to Solid Numbers

A new supernatural cable drama premiered to solid numbers Sunday. Deadline.com reports that 1.9 million total viewers tuned in to Lifetime for "Witches of East End."

That's a slight dip from Lifetime's "Devious Maids," which debuted in June to 2 million total viewers. But "Witches" was up in key demographics, including 905,000 viewers in the 18-49 segment, up 10% from "Maids," the piece adds.

"Witches" will run for 10 episodes this fall, and stars Julia Ormond as the head of a family of witches.

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Casey Kasem's Children File Legal Papers in Ongoing Feud With Jean Kasem

The three adult children of radio legend Casey Kasem have filed legal papers to request conservatorship over their father's health care, reports People magazine.

The children allege that their stepmother, actress Jean Kasem, has blocked access to their father. As previously reported, Casey Kasem is said to be in dire condition with advanced Parkinson's.

The magazine said it wasn't able to reach Jean Kasem or her attorney for comment.

The children "insist the feud has nothing to do with money because they're all 'self-sufficient and are not listed in his will anyway,' daughter Kerri, 41, previously said," according to the story.

The children say they simply want to see their father, and have accused Jean Kasem of standing in the way of their access to Casey Kasem for the past three months.

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ABC's Sunday Prime Time Loses Ground

ABC can't be happy about the ratings results for its Sunday prime-time lineup. Based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo, all three of the network's original dramas lost ground as ABC finished in fourth place among the big four networks.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that "Once Upon a Time" fell one-tenth from a week ago to a 2.5 average rating in viewers 18-49, while "Revenge" lost four-tenths to a 1.9 and "Betrayal" also lost four-tenths, settling for a 1.1.

NBC won the night on the strength of "Sunday Night Football," which pulled a 5.7 in 18-49 for the showdown between the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers. That was down a full ratings point from the preliminary number a week ago.

CBS's prime time was delayed by a 44-minute football overrun, rendering preliminary numbers meaningless other than to point out that CBS appears locked into second place for prime time overall in the 18-49 demo, and first place in total viewers.

Fox's lineup was even with last week or down a bit. "The Simpsons" equaled the 2.9 average in adults 18-49 that the show recorded a week ago, and "American Dad" matched its 2.1, while "Bob's Burgers" slipped three-tenths to a 1.9 and "Family Guy" dipped one-tenth to a 2.5.

For prime time overall, NBC leads the way with a 4.9 average in viewers 18-49, followed by CBS with a 3.8, Fox with a 2.1, ABC with a 1.5 and Univision with a 1.1. In total viewers, it's CBS on top with an average of 15.2 million, followed by NBC (12.6 million), ABC (5.3 million), Fox (4.6 million) and Univision (2.9 million).

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NBC's 'Today' Show Loses Its Biggest Fan

The "Today" show people at NBC are mourning the loss of a stalwart fan of the program. USA Today reports that Linny Boyette died Sunday of complications following a heart attack. He was 71.

"Boyette was a superfan of the show, and viewers often saw him on camera, standing with the crowds gathered outside the show," the story reports. The show paid tribute to Boyette this morning, the piece notes.

Matt Lauer said this morning on "Today": "For so many years, the first person we saw" was Linny Boyette.

USA Today reports: "A military veteran born in England, Linny took the subway from his home in the Bronx, N.Y., to arrive on the plaza outside 'Today' by about 5:30 a.m. Having reserved his spot, he would pass the time until the show began at 7 a.m. by reading the paper, drinking tea and chatting with other fans. 'It's something to do every morning. It makes my day,' he told TODAY.com in 2010."

Boyette had reportedly become particularly close to "Today's" Meredith Vieira, who was able to convince Boyette to come into the studio last year, after he refused the invitations of crew members.

Vieira reportedly tweeted Sunday night: "So saddened to hear of Linny's passing. I always loved seeing him every morning on the plaza. He had a wonderful smile and so sweet."

linny-boyette.pngLinny Boyette

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Joan Rivers, Writers Guild Settle Differences Over 'Fashion Police'

The Writers Guild of America East and Joan Rivers announced a resolution to their dispute in which the WGA accused Rivers of writing for her E! show "Fashion Police" while it was being struck by the guild, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Said Rivers: “As a lifetime member of the WGA, I have always supported the writers and want what’s best for them. In further support of the striking writers, I’ve decided not to render any writing services even though as a comedian and SAG-AFTRA host, I often write material for myself. Rest assured though I will always say what’s on my mind.”

Said WGAE President Michael Winship: "We are very pleased that we have been able to resolve the charges against Ms. Rivers and will not be proceeding to a disciplinary hearing. We recognize Ms. Rivers’ support for the striking writers and her illustrious career. We are also pleased that, as part of the resolution of the charges, Ms. Rivers has agreed not to write during the strike and to meet with E! to advocate for immediate contract negotiations in support of the 'Fashion Police' writers."

The writers for "Fashion Police" have been on strike since April 17, the report notes, adding: "Under Rivers’ SAG-AFTRA contract, Rivers is obligated to continue hosting the program during a strike. However, the WGAE and Rivers dispute whether such host duties include writing."

Rivers added: “Now that this is behind me, can we talk? Because we should talk. As a WGA member, I’ve always supported the 'Fashion Police' writers having a contract. It’s time for both sides to sit down at the table and negotiate. Forget about (holding a union representation) election. We all want the same thing -- to get this behind us -- so let’s make this deal!”

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Fox News Host Apologizes After False Report About Obama Funding a Muslim Museum

A Fox News host issued an apology after "falsely reporting that President Obama would personally pay to keep the International Museum of Muslim Cultures open during the government shutdown," the Los Angeles Times reports.

The host is Anna Kooiman. "The 'oops' moment occurred Saturday on 'Fox and Friends Weekend' [see video clip below] during a conversation among Kooiman, Tucker Carlson and Clayton Morris about the controversial decision to temporarily close the World War II Memorial -- along with many other parks, monuments and museums -- due to the ongoing budget impasse," the Times reports.

Kooiman said on the show: "President Obama has offered to pay out of his own pocket for the museum of Muslim culture." She also noted that the Republican National Committee had offered to pay to keep the World War II Memorial open.

Said Kooiman: "It really doesn't seem fair."

"Perhaps, but it's also not true," the Times reports. "The false claim appears to have originated from a story published by the National Report, which has been described as a satirical news website but seems more about spreading misinformation than social critiques. (Judging from the comments on the original article, Kooiman was far from the only person to take the bait.)"

Kooiman said Sunday through her Twitter account: "Just met w producers- I made a mistake yday after receiving flawed research abt a museum possibly closing. My apologies. Won't happen again." The Times adds: "She did not indicate exactly what the 'flawed research' was, nor did she specifically retract the claim about Obama."

The Times piece dated today also says: "The error has not yet been corrected on air, but will be addressed on the next broadcast of 'Fox and Friends Weekend,' according to a representative of the network."

Here's a video that includes the false report:

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Behind-the-Scenes Shakeup Hits Late-Night Talk Show

A late-night talk show has been hit with a behind-the-scenes shakeup. Deadline.com reports that the drama is playing out at "The Arsenio Hall Show" just four weeks after its debut.

Executive producer Neal Kendall stepped down from the CBS Television Distribution-produced show, with his last day on Friday, the story says. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Eric Pankowski, the senior vice president of programming and development at CTD.

According to the story, "After a blazing-hot start, 'Arsenio' has retreated in the ratings but has been relatively stable and still does OK in the demos (though a commenter noted that the show hit an 18-49 low in the metered markets on Thursday, the day before the EP exit)."

The change was made as a "proactive move to shore up the show’s long-term prospects with the right fit in the key position," the story says.

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'Longest-Running Scripted Show in Television History' Is Renewed

A TV show that has been on the air for a quarter of a century will continue for at least one more season. The New York Times' Arts Beat reports that Fox renewed "The Simpsons" for a 26th season.

The renewal squashed speculation that the 25th season, which started last month, would be its last.

"Such speculation commonly surrounds long-running shows like 'The Simpsons,' which had its premiere on Fox in 1989 and raised the profile of the young network," the article notes.

Still, "The Simpsons" continues to pull viewers and make money for Fox and the studio behind the show, 20th Century Fox Television, the piece points out.

“This groundbreaking series is not only the longest-running scripted show in television history, it’s one of the greatest sitcoms of our time, and I’m looking forward to yet another landmark season,” Fox Broadcasting entertainment chief Kevin Reilly said.

Thumbnail image for simpsons-couch.png

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Actress Named Esquire's 'Sexiest Woman Alive'

An actress has taken over the title of "Sexiest Woman Alive," based on the annual revelation by Esquire magazine. The New York Daily News reports that the title goes to Scarlett Johansson.

Johansson, who also held the title in 2006, takes over for last year's winner, Mila Kunis. Other recent winners have included Rihanna, Minka Kelly and Kate Beckinsale.

In an interview related to the magazine feature, Johansson said: "You know, I gotta hustle. I'm a 28-year-old woman in the movie business, right? Pretty soon the roles you're offered all become mothers. Then they just sort of stop."

The report adds: "The 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' star shows very little sign of stopping. Her latest feat, the porn vs. love-themed Joseph Gordon-Levitt flick, is another example of her sexiness on display."

The Daily News piece notes that Johansson is planning to be married soon to her fiance, Romain Duraic.

The report notes: "Like her magazine title, it'll be a repeat celebration for the actress, who was previously married to actor, and previous People magazine "Sexiest Man," Ryan Reynolds. The equally sexy couple divorced in 2011."

Said Johansson: "I think maybe in the past I didn't have the same kind of investment. Not that I liked my partner less. I just wasn't capable of it or caring that much."

Here's a video posted by Esquire in connection with Johansson's selection:

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NBC Gives Full-Season Order to New Drama

NBC has given a full-season order to one of its new fall shows. The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that the network ordered nine additional episodes of the James Spader drama "The Blacklist."

The order will bring the drama series to 22 installments in its first season.

The show debuted to an audience of 12.58 million, and the second episode maintained much of that viewership, the story points out. The full-season order comes after Fox renewed "Sleepy Hollow" for a second season, and after ABC canceled its freshman drama "Lucky 7."

Given the ratings so far for "Blacklist," it ranks as the top-rated new dramas among the major four networks, the story points out. Spader stars as one of the world's most wanted criminals, who decides to turn himself in and help the FBI track down other criminals, although his motivation is unclear.

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ABC Developing Project for 'Everybody Loves Raymond' Star

One of the stars of "Everybody Loves Raymond" may be returning to television, with ABC developing a project based on actor Brad Garrett's yet-to-be-published autobiography, "When the Balls Drop," The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports.

The project is being eyed as a starring vehicle for Garrett, who most recently appeared in "How to Live With Your Parents," a short-lived ABC show. If the "Balls" project doesn't move forward, Garrett could be cast in another project by producer 20th Century Fox Television, since he has a talent holding deal with the studio, the story says.

Garrett's book will be published by Simon & Schuster, while the Emmy-winning actor is writing the pilot for the comedy with "How I Met Your Mother" writer Chuck Tatham. The book and TV project will track a divorced middle-aged man as he deals with work and his home life, the story says.

brad-garrett.jpgBrad Garrett

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Letterman to Remain in Place at Least Through 2015

CBS is keeping David Letterman at his late-night post through 2015, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed.

Even though there has been speculation that Letterman may be getting ready to retire, CBS said Friday that the host's contract for his "Late Show" has been extended through 2015, the story reports. At the same time, NBC is preparing to shift its late-night schedule, with Jay Leno slated to be replaced by Jimmy Fallon after the Winter Olympics.

"Les [Moonves] and I had a lengthy discussion, and we both agreed that I needed a little more time to fully run the show into the ground," Letterman said in a statement, referring to the CBS chief executive.

Letterman's last contract renewal was in 2012, the story adds. He recently surpassed Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late-night talk show host in television history, the piece notes.

Thumbnail image for david-letterman.jpgDavid Letterman

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Roseanne Barr Accuses Chuck Lorre, Ashton Kutcher of Stealing a Joke

Comedian Roseanne Barr is accusing Chuck Lorre, the creator of CBS's "Two and a Half Men," and actor Ashton Kutcher of stealing one of her jokes, reports EW.com's Inside TV.

Barr complained on Twitter that a joke in Thursday's episode of the show was similar to hers. In the show, Kutcher's character jokes about being 91 years old, "I’d imagine that you’re wet in the places you used to be dry, and dry in the places you used to be wet.”

Barr has used a similar line since at least 2006, although hers refers to menopause and goes, "I’m wet where I’m supposed to be dry and dry where I’m supposed to be wet.”

Taking to Twitter, Barr wrote: “i would steal one of his jokes to make it even, but they all suck ass," the story notes. She also alleged that Lorre steals from other people's work with "no guilt" and urged other comics to watch Lorre's shows to see if he steals their material.

CBS, Lorre and Kutcher didn't respond to Barr's complaint.

roseanne barr.jpgRoseanne Barr

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What's the Value of a Tweet About TV?

Following the debut of Nielsen's new Twitter TV Ratings, Advertising Age reports that the value a Twitter impression for advertisers and television networks remains unclear, but what is clear is that a lot of people are reading tweets about TV.

An average of 50 times more people read tweets about TV shows than the number of people who actually send the short messages, Nielsen and Twitter said in a joint statement.

AMC's "Breaking Bad" was the most talked about show on Twitter for the week ended Sept. 29, with 1.2 million tweets sent by more than 601,000 writers. But those tweets created 129.6 million impressions, the story points out.

The story notes: "This data will give TV networks and advertisers a broader picture of the reach and influence of TV-related conversations. One of the goals is to help agencies and advertisers make data-driven media planning and buying decisions that incorporate the full impact of Twitter TV, the companies said."

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'Modern Family' Star Working on New Comedy for ABC

One of the stars of "Modern Family" is working on a comedy project for ABC. Deadline.com reports that the project, "Raising Mom," is inspired by the parenting experiences of actress Sofia Vergara.

Gail Mancuso, who won an Emmy for directing "Modern Family," is slated to direct the project, which is from Vergara and Luis Balaguer’s Latin World Entertainment, Electus and ABC Studios.

"Raising Mom," written by Christine Zander of "Raising Hope," is about a young single mother and her 21-year-old son, who "discover that they have done a pretty good job of raising each other, only now they decide it might be time to gain some independence," the story says.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for sofia-vergara.jpgSofia Vergara

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TV Project in the Works Based on an Old Tom Hanks Movie

NBC is working on a comedy series based on a Tom Hanks movie from the 1980s. Deadline.com reports that the new project is based on the 1986 film "The Money Pit," which starred Hanks and Shelley Long.

Hanks and Long played a couple who buy a mansion that's falling apart, or the proverbial "money pit." Amblin Entertainment, which produced the movie with Universal Pictures, is producing the new project with Universal Television.

Amblin TV's Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank will executive produce with Justin Spitzer of "The Office," who is writing the adaptation.

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NBC Orders 'Tin Man' Project

The drama "Tin Man," from film writer Ehren Kruger of the "Transformers" franchise, has received an early pilot order from NBC, reports Deadline.com.

The drama tracks a fugitive robot who is accused of first-degree murder and his public defender. The project would mark Kruger's television debut. Kruger formerly worked with NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt as an assistant 17 years ago at Fox, the story notes.

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Madonna Says She Was Raped Before She Became Famous

In a new essay for Harper's Bazaar, pop icon Madonna reveals that she was raped at knifepoint before she became famous, as she struggled to make it in New York City.

"New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time," she writes in the essay.

While she was excited by the energy of New York City, she writes that she was also "scared shitless and freaked out by the smell of piss and vomit everywhere, especially in the entryway of my third-floor walk-up."

One image that kept her going despite her loneliness was artist Frida Kahlo, Madonna notes.

"And I wondered if it was all worth it, but then I would pull myself together and look at a postcard of Frida Kahlo taped to my wall, and the sight of her mustache consoled me. Because she was an artist who didn't care what people thought. I admired her. She was daring. People gave her a hard time. Life gave her a hard time. If she could do it, then so could I," she writes.


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ABC Cancels One of Its New Fall Series

ABC has canceled one of its new fall shows after just two episodes, reports TheWrap.com. The show is "Lucky 7," which turned out to be one of this season's unluckiest shows.

"Lucky 7" had the lowest average ratings of any new show this season, the story notes: "Though the show shared a night with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” an early fall hit for ABC, it mustered only an unlucky .7 rating Tuesday in the key 18-49 demographic."

"Lucky 7" will be replaced by repeats of ABC's hit "Scandal."

The canceled series' debut was the worst for a drama in ABC's history, the piece adds.

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Ay Dios Mio! The Presidents of Two High Profile Cable Networks Are Leaving

It was announced separately today, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, that the presidents of two high profile cable networks are leaving.

In one article, Multichannel News reports that "Eric Kessler, president and COO of HBO, will leave the company, CEO Richard Plepler said in an internal memo Friday. 'After careful consideration we have decided that the COO position does not best serve the most effective management process at HBO,' said Plepler. Kessler had been with HBO for 27 years."

In another story, Multichannel News reports that "Emilio Romano has resigned as president of NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo Media, and NBCU intends to search for a replacement immediately, Multichannel News has learned. In an internal memo to NBCU and Telemundo employees, Joe Uva, NBCU's chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, wrote that 'after a successful two years, Emilio Romano has decided to leave the company.' "

These announcements come on the heels of the announcement earlier this week that Kim Martin is exiting as president of WE tv.

Kessler, who for years headed up HBO's marketing efforts, is one of the most-respected, best-liked executive in the cable industry. Here, from the Multichannel article, is Plepler's internal memo about Kessler's departure from the company:

It is with mixed emotions that I announce that Eric Kessler will be leaving HBO. After careful consideration we have decided that the COO position does not best serve the most effective management process at HBO.

It is important to say that this in no way reflects on the extraordinary talents that Eric has so ably demonstrated in his 27 years at HBO. His accomplishments have helped shape the company throughout its modern history. Eric has been an uncommonly valued colleague and friend to all of us at HBO. While his many contributions could not adequately be reflected here, they are indeed numerous and lasting - in fact, we are currently completing one of our strongest years ever. Eric launched several iconic marketing and advertising campaigns - most notably the award winning "It's Not TV. It's HBO" - and his influence is visible on screen through HBO's lauded on-air promotional efforts. Since 2007, Eric has overseen the distribution of the HBO and Cinemax networks in both domestic and international markets. In addition to the pay television channels, he oversaw the worldwide sale of HBO's programming through licensing, DVD and digital distribution.

Eric was an early champion of our digital future - he was central in establishing our relationship with iTunes (Apple), driving the exploration of mobile experiences, and ultimately leading the development and worldwide launch of HBO GO. HBO GO is an essential innovation for HBO and without Eric and his team, it would not have emerged as what is widely regarded as television's most elegant digital product.

Eric's grace and professionalism are a tribute to his passion and commitment to HBO. He has agreed to work with us during a transition period to ensure continuity. During this period, Rob Roth, Otto Berkes, Shelley Brindle, Pam Levine and Simon Sutton will report to me.

Words are insufficient to express our gratitude, appreciation and respect for a beloved colleague. It is indisputable that he will immediately be inducted into the HBO Hall of Fame.

eric kessler.jpgEric Kessler

In its story about Telemundo president Emilio Romano leaving, Mutichannel continues, "According to the memo [from Joe Uva], NBCU will begin a search for his replacement 'immediately,' and until a new leader has been found, Uva says he will spend more time in Hialeah, Florida, which is where Telemundo Media is based and where Romano informed staff members today of his decision. The unit includes the Spanish-language broadcast network Telemundo, production studio, the cable network mun2 and digital properties.

"Romano, who was hired in October 2011, came to the Spanish-language media company after spending years in the media, aviation and Internet industries. In the 1990s he had also spent time in Grupo Televisa, where he was director of mergers and acquisitions and later vp of international operations.

"Uva said in his memo: 'I want to personally thank Emilio for his contributions to Telemundo Media. His focus on positioning Telemundo to take share from Univision, and mun2 to better resonate with the rapidly growing millennial population has established a foundation for growth. As a result, he has been instrumental in elevating the perception of Telemundo in the marketplace. Most recently, he has been a good partner to me.' "

Emilio_Romano.jpgEmilio Romano

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Halle Berry to Star in Her First TV Series. Show Already Has a 13 Episode Straight-To-Series Commitment

Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Halle Barry is set to star in her first regular TV series, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The story says that Berry has been "tapped to star in Steven Spielberg's CBS summer (2014) drama 'Extant' and has also signed a two-year first-look production deal with the series' studio, CBS Television Studio.

"The project found itself at the center of a heated bidding war between broadcast networks and cable networks, with CBS ultimately proving triumphant by committing to a 13-episode straight-to-series order. Extant has been billed as a futuristic thriller about a female astronaut (Berry) trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. The character's experiences lead to events that ultimately change the course of human history. The casting coup of Berry is as much a commentary on the strength of the spec script as it is on the state of the film business, particularly for actresses over 40."

The story contines, " 'Halle is the type of award-winning actress you dream of collaborating with for an event project such as Extant,' said CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler. 'Her talent and ability to immerse herself into every performance has created memorable roles that have resonated with audiences everywhere. It's a big coup for CBS to have Halle star in her first television series, especially with such an exciting original concept and a role layered with mystery and humanity.' "

The THR article also notes that "The drama reteams CBS with Spielberg's Amblin, which also is behind this summer's top scripted drama 'Under the Dome.' The network has already renewed 'Dome' for a second season after the pricey series proved that there's a home for high-quality original scripted programming during the typically low-rated summer months."

Berry won her Emmy and Golden Globe for her brilliant portrayal of actress Dorothy Dandridge in the 1999 HBO TV movie "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge."

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USA Network Renews Series

USA Network has given a renewal to one of its hit series.

The show is the spy drama "Covert Affairs."

The series has been renewed for a fifth season, reports TheWrap, noting that the order is for 16 episodes..

The fourth season, which will air its remaining episodes starting on Oct. 17, has averaged about 4 million total viewers so far, putting it among the 10 most-watched scripted cable shows this season, the story says.

“With its intricate storytelling, diverse characters and authentic locations, the series continues to be a cornerstone in our line-up of USA’s original signature dramas," USA Network president Chris McCumber said.

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Stevie Nicks Says She'd Love to Write Music for One of HBO's Hit Series

Hey HBIO, pop icon Stevie Nicks want to work for you.

Nicks tells The Herald Scotland that she's a huge fan of "Game of Thrones" and would love to write music for the HBO program.

"The author [George RR Martin] is my age and it blows my mind that he's able to create this vast, interlinked world," Nicks told the publication. "And of course I would love to write some music for 'Game Of Thrones.' I've written a bunch of poetry about it - one for each of the characters. On Jon Snow… On Arya… On Cersei and Jaime."

She added that she watched the first season of "Game of Thrones" while she had pneumonia and when her mother died. "That certainly took my mind off everything," she said.

Nicks also tole the Herald Scotland that she was devastated by the death of "Glee" star Cory Monteith, having gotten close to some of the cast when the show dedicated an episode to "Rumours," the magahit Fleetwood Mac album on which she sang.

"[W]ith this Cory thing I've thought a lot about it. Mostly you realized that all that recreational/non-addictive [idea] was bullshit when it started to become more important than music," she said. "You're just throwing it away. And you have somebody like Cory who had the world at his feet, and his fingertips."

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'South Park' Skewers Cable MSOs and Programmers; Calls a Discovery Network 'Murder Porn' TV

"There may be an angry voice mail or three this morning at Comedy Central from some of its fellow media companies after Thursday night’s episode of 'South Park,' writes our good friend Andy Wallenstein in Variety.

He adds that Discovery Communications "probably won’t be happy to see the depiction of a cable channel called Discovery ID being repeatedly characterized as a source of “murder porn,” what the show’s kiddie characters call the endless series featuring real-life depictions of spousal homicides. Discovery ID, of course, bears a striking resemblance to Investigation Discovery, a channel that just happens to have a full roster of those shows."

Furthermore, Wallenstein writes, "there’s Time Warner Cable, which isn’t actually referenced in the episode by name but the logos on the shirts of the sadomasochistic cable-company employees depicted in the episodes sure look familiar. Those shirts are also drawn to have flaps that descend to reveal the employee’s nipples, which they rub ecstatically as various 'South Park' characters complain to them about everything from the inability to pick cable channels a la carte to the incredibly long waiting times for service repair."

And these two references are only the tip of the iceberg, Wallenstein says.

Here's a clip. To see the full episode, click here.

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Which New Shows Are Generating the Most Buzz on Facebook?

There's apparently a correlation between Facebook chatter and television ratings for new shows, with Variety reporting that the biggest debuts at the four broadcast networks are also those with the most buzz on the social network.

"ABC’s 'Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD' led the field among new fall TV series launched prior to October, generating 1.13 million 'interactions,' defined as the total number of comments, posts and Facebook 'likes' about a show during a 48-hour period beginning with the series' premiere date," the story says.

Runner-up was "Sleepy Hollow" on Fox, with gained 932,000 interactions. It's been the most successful new show for Fox, which has already ordered a second season.

"The Crazy Ones" on CBS and "The Blacklist" on NBC finished third and fourth, the story adds.

The piece continues, "Conversely, the series that have fared the worst in the TV ratings among new launches saw the lack of impact play out in their social footprint as well. Sluggish performers including CBS’ 'We Are Men,' ABC’s 'Lucky 7' and Fox’s 'Dads' saw the least activity on Facebook. Even a pair of new premium-cable series, HBO’s 'Hello Ladies' and Showtime’s 'Masters of Sex,' drew stronger social traction despite being available in far fewer U.S. homes."

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New Reality Show From NBC and Mark Burnett Takes the Phrase 'Space, the Final Frontier' Literally

A new reality series from NBC and Mark Burnett takes that old phrase from 'Star Trek,' "space, the final frontier," literally.

NBC has ordered "Space Race," a competition from Mark Burnett that will feature ordinary people trying to win a trip on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, reports The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed blog.

SpaceShipTwo is the commercial spaceline from Sir Richard Branson.

"The scope of this endeavor is so staggering, that it took these two titans to even imagine it," said Paul Telegdy, NBC Entertainment president of alternative and late night programming, according to the story.

Burnett previously sold a show about space in 2000, when he sold "Destination Mir" to NBC. The series would have taken an ordinary American to the Mir space station, but the project was scuttled when Mir was brought down the following year, the story points out.

The article adds this quote from Burnett: "For the past 10 years I have relentlessly pursued my dream of using a TV show to give an everyday person the chance to experience the black sky of space and look down upon Mother Earth.".

Seats on Virgin Galactic cost $250,000 each.

The story also notes that Branson said," 'Space Race' allows us to extend this opportunity of a lifetime to as many people as possible right at the start of our commercial service -- through direct experience and television viewing."

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Alec Baldwin, Heading to MSNBC, DeletesTweets Critical of Host on That Network

With plans to become a host on MSNBC later this month, Alec Baldwin reportedly cleaned up his Twitter feed to remove some critical comments of another MSNBC host, reports TVNewser.

According to the story, "The latest installment of Baldwin vs. Twitter involves tweets regarding his soon-to-be colleagues at 'Morning Joe.' Baldwin was criticizing that morning’s guest, conservative writer Bill Kristol, but it turned into a critique of Joe Scarborough who he said was 'barking at his guests in that Hannity-esque Catholic school gym teacher style.' "

The tweets, sent out on Wednesday, were later deleted, according to Mediaite, although MSNBC hasn't commented and Baldwin hasn't apologized.

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'Saturday Night Live' Cast Member Says the Show Should Add More Diversity

Asked about "Saturday Night Live's" lack of black cast members, one of the show's current cast members says the show needs to "pay attention," according to an interview with The Grio.

The cast member, Jay Pharoah, is one of only two black actors on the show with 16 cast members, and says he'd like the program to bring on board a black woman. He has someone in mind: Darmirra Brunson.

"Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she’s black first of all, and she’s really talented. She’s amazing. She needs to be on 'SNL.' I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year," he told the publication.

Brunson is currently appearing on Tyler Perry's "Love Thy Neighbor," which airs on OWN.

"As far as being a black person on the show, there’s not a lot of us, you know?" Pharoah said. He added, "So actually, when you’re on here, it’s kind of cool. What can you say? We’re in a very coveted position.”

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Executive Producer of the Long-Running Hit 'Touched By an Angel' Coming Back to Series TV

The executive producer of the long-runining CBS hit "Touched by and Angel," Martha Williamson, is coming back to series TV.

Nellie Andreeva of Deadline.com writes, "I’ve learned that the cable network has given a 10-episode order to 'Signed, Sealed & Delivered' (formerly 'Dead Letters') ahead of the backdoor pilot’s October 12 premiere as an original movie."

She adds, "Created and executive produced by former 'Touched By An Angel' executive producer Martha Williamson, 'Signed, Sealed & Delivered' is a comedic drama about an intrepid group of mail detectives in the Dead Letter Office who will deliver every last lost & dead letter to its rightful owner just when the recipient needs it most."

For more details, we urge you to click on the link, above, and read Andreea's full story.

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FXX Could Not Afford to Buy the Publicity It's Getting From This: FXX Sued by Exxon Over Logo

"FXX is under fire from Exxon, which has filed suit against the cable network for its new logo, claiming it rips off the oil giant's trademarked brand," reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

exxon and Fxx logos.jpgBoth logos use joined double Xs, the story notes.

"Exxon says that causes confusion among consumers and makes it look as if FXX -- which launched Sept. 2 and is the baby sibling to the established cable network FX, both part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. -- is affiliated with Exxon," the piece notes.

FXX told Variety that it was "unfathomable that a consumer would confuse Exxon’s logo, from the world’s largest oil and gas company, with FXX, the new networks that brings viewers such award-winning original television as ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and ‘The League,’ to name a few."

The network added, "We are confident that viewers won’t tune into FXX looking for gas or motor oil and drivers won’t pull up to an Exxon pump station expecting to get ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’”

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Former 'View' Co-Host Is In Talks for Syndie Talk Show

Debmar-Mercury is close to completing a deal with television station owner E.W. Scripps to create a syndicated talk show with a former co-host of "The View," reports Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

The project is said to be a legal panel talk show featuring Star Jones, among others.

Andreeva writes, "There isn’t a full-fledged pilot for the project yet, but I hear segments with Jones have been filmed. I hear the format calls for five hosts, and she is the only talent locked in so far," Andreeva writes.

Jones, an attorney who served as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, was on "The View" for nine years.

The story adds, "A rep for Debmar-Mercury declined comment."

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Roger Ailes Writes 'As we approach our 17th anniversary at FOX News, we are beginning to dramatically change the way news is presented to the public.' Here's Ailes's Entire Memo

"Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes sent a memo Thursday [Oct. 3, 2013] to producers, shows, talent and executives involved in executing a new vision led by Shepard Smith — one that makes him the face of a new, breaking-news division," reports Business Insider.

Business Insider says it obtained a copy of Ailes' memo. Here it is:

"As we approach our 17th anniversary at FOX News, we are beginning to dramatically change the way news is presented to the public. This has been a vision of mine for several years. I always felt that the most powerful means of communications (video) was restricted to a tape mark, a teleprompter, a talent reading and a control room. That should not be true today.

The NEWS DECK STUDIO which I envisioned has been pretty much completed and Monday [Oct. 7, 2013] starting with Shep’s 3pm program, news will be integrated throughout the evening. Shep and I are both excited about this new approach. Control of the program will be split between the studio and an off-camera control room. The producer’s function and director’s function will change somewhat.

The talent will be more like an NFL quarterback with the ability to call audibles when he sees openings. We will move seamlessly between the teleprompter and storytelling, and the public will have an opportunity to see how the news is being put together and how the programs are built. This will be more organic in terms of the feed sources including video, all digital, and even social media.

I expect there to be a few mistakes along the way because this is a high wire act without a net going live to the public. Any mistakes, however, will not justify changing the need for a special talent presenting the news and using the most updated technology to inform our public.

I know everyone has worked hard to get ready for the October 7th launch. I expect the innovations I’ve envisioned to be a cutting edge news presentation and I have confidence in all of you to deliver it. If something goes wrong, don’t be afraid to let the audience in on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Don’t apologize for trying to speed up how, when, and where people get their news. Do your best. Thank you for everything you’ve done so far."

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Fox Renews New Fall Series for Season Two

Fox has become the first broadcast network to renew one of its fall shows for a second season.

The pickup, for Fox's drama "Sleepy Hollow," is "a second-season renewal for at least 13 episodes," writes our friend Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

The story continues, " 'Sleepy Hollow' is part of Fox’s strategy for shorter, largely uninterrupted, cable-style runs. It was designed to air its 13-episode first season in the fall before another drama series ordered under the same template, 'The Following,' returns in the Monday 9 PM hour — likely in January. Given the success of 'Sleepy Hollow,' it probably was tempting to try and extend its freshman season to the standard 22 episodes, but Fox brass stuck with their original plan."

The article adds that the show opened "with a 3.4 18-49 rating and, three weeks in, is still staying above the 3 ratings threshold in live viewing (3.0). The series, from K/O Paper Products and 20th Century Fox TV, also is a huge DVR draw, earning a 5.0/13 rating among adults 18-49 and 13.6 million viewers for the premiere in Live+3, making it Fox’s most successful fall drama premiere since the debut of '24' in November 2001."


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Bad Night for NBC in Prime Time: A Previous Hit Show Sinks, and a New Drama Chalks Up an Unwelcome Milestone

A new NBC series opened with a resounding thud in the ratings Wednesday night, and a series that has been considered a hit for the network sank to an all-time low as NBC finished a distant fourth among the big four broadcast nets, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the new drama series "Ironside," featuring Blair Underwood in the role made famous by Raymond Burr, premiered to a 1.4 average rating in viewers 18-49 to rank third in a three-horse race in the 10 p.m. time slot. The premiere was off 26% from the number delivered by "Chicago Fire" in the time slot for its premiere a year ago, and gave "Ironside" the dubious distinction of being NBC's lowest-rated fall drama premiere of all time.

Another NBC drama, "Revolution" -- which has been a success story for the network -- also had a rocky night. The show lost 20% of its demo audience from a week ago and sank to a 1.5 average, the lowest in series history.

Sandwiched between those two disasters, NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" also had a less than stellar night, tumbling 26% from last week's two-hour season premiere to a 2.0 average in 18-49.

ABC, CBS and Fox all fared much better, even as this week's general downtrend continued for the top broadcast nets following a good opening week to the fall season.

ABC had the top show of the night on broadcast, with "Modern Family" delivering a 4.2 average in adults 18-49 -- matching last week's number. Leading out from it, "Super Fun Night" had an encouraging series premiere with a 3.2, equaling the number for the premiere of "The Neighbors" in the time slot a year ago.

ABC's "The Middle" came in with a 2.2 average in 18-49, down 12% from a week ago, "Back in the Game" dipped 18% to a 1.8, and "Nashville" slipped 5% to a 1.9.

CBS's "Survivor" found a way to buck the downtrend, rising 8% from last week to a 2.6 in the 18-49 demo. "CSI" was also up, rising 5% to a 2.1, while "Criminal Minds" fell off 4% to a 2.7.

Fox's two-hour "The X Factor" slipped 4% to a 2.4 in the demo.

CBS and ABC wound up in a tie for first place for prime time overall in the 18-49 demo, followed closely by Fox. ABC and CBS notched 2.5 average ratings, Fox had a 2.4 and NBC came in with a 1.6, followed by Univision with a 1.3. In total viewers, CBS separated itself from the pack with 10.2 million, followed by Fox (7.8 million), ABC (7.6 million), NBC (6.3 million) and Univision (3.3 million).

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Scary Stuff: TravelChannel.com Takes the Wraps Off Its List of the Year's Top Halloween Attractions

Warning that it's not for the faint of heart, TravelChannel.com has unveiled its scare-ific list of the "Travel's Best" Halloween attractions of 2013.

Here's the list, in alphabetical order by state:

• Knott’s Scary Farm (Buena Park, California)
• Disney's Haunted Mansion (Anaheim, California & Orlando, Florida)
• Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend (Orlando, Florida)
• Markoff’s Haunted Forest (Calleva Farm in Dickerson, Maryland)
• Salem Haunted Happenings (Salem, Massachusetts)
• Twin Cities’ Zombie Pub Crawl (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota)
• KC West Bottoms Haunted Houses (Kansas City, Missouri)
• The Haunting of Lemp Brewery (St. Louis, Missouri)
• Spooky World Presents Nightmare New England (Litchfield, New Hampshire)
• Eastern State Penitentiary – Terror Behind the Walls (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Commenting on that last selection, the website says in a press release: "The abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the most well-known haunted locations in the country, and for six weeks every fall, 'Terror Behind the Walls' transforms the prison into a massive haunted house. For the first time in the event’s history, visitors will be confronted with a critical decision: Should they explore the prison and watch the action, or should they mark themselves to truly interact with the denizens of the cellblocks? Those who opt in for true interactivity may be grabbed, held back, sent into hidden passageways, removed from their group and even occasionally incorporated into the show."

The website notes that the list was picked by a panel of experts consisting of Scott Cummins (artist & pro pumpkin carver); Elvira (Mistress of the Dark); Nick Groff (paranormal investigator, “Ghost Adventures”); Ed and Marsha Edmunds (owners of Distortions Unlimited, “Making Monsters”); and Aaron Sagers (geek culture and paranormal expert).

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'Heroes' Creator Readying Another Project About Superpowers

Tim Kring, the creator of NBC's "Heroes," is working on another drama about people with superpowers, although this time around the focus is on teens and the project is in development at the CW, reports Deadline.com.

The project, called "Exp," looks at the impact of a foreign designer drug that makes people faster, smarter and stronger, after it's introduced to American high schools, the story says.

The project, from Kring's Tim Kring Imperative and Warner Bros. TV, is written on spec by Zach Craley and Jarrett Conaway. Kring, Zak Kadison and Bradley Thomas are executive producing, along with Craley and Conaway.

The project marks the second in development at the CW for Kring, as he's also executive producing "Dorothy Must Die," a Wizard of Oz-themed drama.

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MTV Series Gets Green Light for 25th Season -- The Show Has Been Rolling Along Since the 1990s

MTV announced plans today for the 25th season of a show that has been airing on the cable channel since the 1990s. The show is "The Challenge," which originated in 1998 as "Real World/Road Rules Challenge."

In a press release detailing plans for season 25, MTV said: "On the heels of a stellar season of 'The Challenge: Rivals II,' MTV today announced that the hit competition series will start production this fall, for its 25th season of the franchise, in an undisclosed location. Past locales have included Thailand, Brazil, Dominican Republic and more. The new season is slated to air in 2014."

The cable net noted that the finale of "Rivals II" was up 54% from last season's “The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons” finale, with a 2.0 P12-34 rating and 2.2 million total viewers. Overall, ratings for the latest season were up 27% vs. the previous year, averaging a 1.9 P12-34 rating and 2.1 million total viewers.

Accounting for time-shifted viewing (Live+SD vs. Live+3), the average ratings for the season increased 36% (1.4 Live+SD vs. 1.9 Live+3 among P12-34).

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NBC on a Roll in Late-Night

NBC may have its issues in prime time, as we reported separately today, but the network, in its own words, is dominating late-night.

The network issued a press release today touting three-year premiere week highs for both “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in the key 18-49 demo, adding that the shows outperformed their rivals on ABC and CBS in all key demos and in total viewers.

"Leno and Fallon have launched their 2013-14 seasons with dominant wins versus their broadcast time-period competition for the week of Sept. 23-27, generating bigger audiences than their slot rivals in adults 18-49, total viewers and all other key measures," NBC said in its announcement, noting that Monday’s “Late Night” and Friday’s “Kimmel” were encores.

NBC adds: "Both 'The Tonight Show' and 'Late Night' were up versus premiere week last year in every key ratings measure while Fallon generated his biggest overall audience for any of his five season-premiere weeks to date."

“The Tonight Show” was up 29% from last year’s premiere week in viewers 18-49 (to 1.205 million from 935,000), its best week-one result since 2010. “Late Night” was also up 29% (764,000 vs. 591,000) for its largest 18-49 audience since 2010.

NBC adds: "In total viewers, Leno was up 12% (3.678 million vs. 3.296 million) for his biggest premiere-week audience since 2010. Fallon was up 19% (1.836 million vs. 1.539 million) for his biggest week-one viewership since taking over 'Late Night' in 2009."

The network adds that “The Tonight Show” has delivered bigger audiences in the 18-49 demo than “Late Show with David Letterman” for the past 45 consecutive weeks, and has topped “Kimmel” for 35 of their 38 head-to-head weeks. In total viewers, "Tonight Show" has out-delivered “Late Show” for 49 weeks in a row and “Kimmel” for 38 of 38 weeks.

The announcement adds: "Fallon has now generated bigger 18-49 audiences than 'Late Late Show' for 50 of the last 51 weeks and prevailed in total viewers for 47 of the last 49 weeks. Versus 'Nightline' in their head-to-head half-hour, Fallon has out-delivered the ABC series for 38 of 38 weeks in viewers 18-49 and 23 weeks in a row in total viewers."

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Emmy-Winning Talk Show Renewed Through 2016

An Emmy Award-winning syndicated talk show was picked up for two more years by the ABC Owned Television Stations, keeping the show on the air through 2016, TVNewsCheck reports. The show is "Rachael Ray," from CBS Television Distribution.

Announcing the renewal today was Joe DiSalvo, president of sales for CBS Television Distribution.

"The daily strip is now renewed in nearly 90% of the country, including on ABC Owned Television Stations in New York, Philadelphia and Raleigh, N.C, and stations from the CBS Television Stations, Hearst, Post-Newsweek and Sinclair Broadcasting groups," the story reports. "This renewal will take the show through its 10th season."

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FX Series Gets a Renewal -- and Gets Canceled

FX Networks is renewing a series, but the good news comes with some bad -- and a catch. TVLine.com reports that FX will bring back the dark comedy "Wilfred" for a fourth season -- which will be the show's last.

And there's this catch: The show's final season will air on sister network FXX. The final season will consist of 10 episodes, the piece notes.

The show had some turnover in the third season, with writer-producers Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne taking over as co-showrunners. They replaced David Zuckerman, who continued on as an executive producer, the story notes.


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Scripps and Ford Partner on New Network

Scripps Networks Interactive, with the Ford Motor Company as a partner, is launching a new network. The companies describe the channel, ulive, as a new digital lifestyle video site and distribution network.

The channel will offer video content from Scripps outlets -- including HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country -- along with more than 70 new original video series from Scripps’ talent and social media stars and bloggers.

Ford Motor Company, ulive’s launch partner, is being integrated into custom episodes of ulive programs showcasing the company's vehicles.

Said Erica Bigley, digital media manager for Ford: “At Ford Motor Company we are consistently seeking opportunities that allow consumers to experience Ford vehicles in a space that is personalized to them. By sponsoring ulive now, it provides us the ability to capture the excitement and the momentum of the launch and to connect with an engaged audience.”

Two original programs launching right away are "What Will the Maid Think?," from Bert Kreischer, host of The Travel Channel show "Trip Flip," and "Bonkers Awesome!," from food blogger and author Joy the Baker.

"Other talent from Scripps featured on the site includes Genevieve Gorder ('A Well Designed Life'), Kelsey Nixon ('First Time Mom'), Nadia G ('Sick Kitchens with Nadia G'), and Chris Grundy ('Grillin’ Up the Party')," Scripps said in its announcement. "Some of the fresh faces ulive is introducing include Summer Bellessa and Brooke White ('The Girls with Glasses: Kid Proof Style'), Jamie Grayson ('Jamie Grayson’s Baby Gear Guide') Craig Ramsay ('5 Minute Workout Anywhere') and the family of Gabrielle and Ben Blair ('Olive Us')."

Said Jeff Meyer, president of ulive: “With ulive we have created an online destination where anyone can enjoy entertaining and relevant videos for the way you live. It enables viewers to discover, watch and share what they love the most, across food, home, travel, parenting and wellness -- and this is only the beginning of the site’s capabilities and content.”

Scripps noted in the announcement: "ulive enables Scripps, the leader in lifestyle media, to reach current and new audiences by creating a platform where video content is distributed in a thoughtfully curated way. Additionally, by utilizing a responsive player, ulive makes it easier for viewers to watch their favorite videos on any media device. ulive brings together content for all facets of life with videos that are instructive, fun and inspiring. The site showcases new original series as well as full episodes and clips from the popular Scripps brands."

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Comedy Developed at NBC -- With Close Ties to 'SNL' -- Gets Series Order at Fox

A comedy originally developed at NBC has landed at Fox with a series order, reports EW.com's Inside TV. The show stars comedian John Mulaney.

NBC passed over the pilot even though "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels served as executive producer, because the network apparently wanted more broad-based family comedies this season, such as "The Michael J. Fox Show," the story notes.

A number of other "SNL" people are also associated with the project, including Martin Short and Nasim Pedrad.

"But now Fox has greenlit the show for, we’re hearing, six episodes," the piece reports.

The show has a "Seinfeld"-like conceit, with an aspiring comedian, played by Mulaney, coming of age amidst the influence of neighbors, roommates and his boss. Fox said that Short will remain with the project, playing the boss, but that cast members Pedrad and Elliott Gould may leave, the story adds.

john mulaney.jpgJohn Mulaney

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When It Comes to Her Raunchy Image, Miley Cyrus' Parents Are on the Same Page as Their Daughter

Following the controversial performance by Miley Cyrus at MTV's Video Music Awards -- and her equally controversial naked music video "Wrecking Ball" -- Cyrus' parents are appearing in the documentary "Miley: The Movement," in which they defend their daughter and her newfound raunchy image, reports TheWrap.com.

“Anyone that’s ever said, ‘Where is her mother?’ Right beside her,” says Tish Cyrus, the singer's mother. “Through good, through bad, through arguments, through crying, through I don’t care what -- right there.”

Tish Cyrus, described in the story as Miley's "momager," also said she thinks her daughter is a role model.

"As the daughter of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus and momager Tish Cyrus, Miley was essentially groomed for stardom," the report notes.

The piece adds: "Cyrus, not yet of legal drinking age but already Hollywood’s rising party girl, is outspoken about her transformation from Disney’s princess Hannah Montana to the girl who twerked on Robin Thicke. She is also no stranger to the tabloid spotlight and has been a part of publicity stunts ranging from a public bong hit to a high-profile engagement to the now-infamous VMA performance."

Myley Cyrus reportedly had this to say about her mom: “My mom is my homie. If I win, she wins. Not because she’s my manager, but because she’s my mom.”

"Miley: The Movement" is airing on MTV.

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Veteran TV and Film Producer, Nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy, Dead at 82

A veteran producer who received nominations for an Oscar and an Emmy during his career in Hollywood has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Marc Merson was 82.

Merson's feature film producing credits included "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" in 1968 and "Leadbelly," about the life of iconic U.S. folk and blues musician Huddie Ledbetter, in 1976.

He received an Oscar nomination in 1970 for the short film "People Soup," and an Emmy nomination for his work on the anthology series "ABC Stage 67," with the episode "The Love Song of Barney Kempinski," starring Alan Arkin, nominated for outstanding dramatic program.

Arkin also appeared in "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter," produced by Merson, in a performance that gave the actor the second of his four Oscar nominations, the piece notes.

Merson produced the 1970s CBS drama series "Kaz," about a car thief turned lawyer. Also in the 1970s he produced a number of TV movies, including "Moe and Joe" (1974), "Hickey" (1976) and "Riding High" (1977).

His last credit was as an executive producer on "Doc Hollywood," a 1991 feature starring Michael J. Fox. He later turned his attention to organizing Eco Expo, a national environmental consumer trade show, the piece notes.

marc merson.pngMarc Merson

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Is Joss Whedon's Post-'Buffy'/'Angel' TV Career Cursed? Week-Two Ratings Plunge for 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Has His Cult Followers on Edge

A massive ratings decline in the second week of ABC's new "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." -- down 34% in the key 18-49 demo in preliminary Nielsen figures -- is creating anxiety among Joss Whedon fans, reports Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

After losing more than one-third of its audience, some among Whedon's cult-like following are wondering whether "writer-producer Whedon's TV curse will remain intact," Collins writes.

Despite huge success early on with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," Whedon has since struggled to hit upon a winning formula for a TV show. Both "Firefly" and "Dollhouse" survived only briefly on Fox, with fans complaining that the shows were pulled too soon.

But some critics and fans have had a negative reaction to "Agents," with Collins noting that one Reddit poster called the drama "disappointing and unoriginal."

In contrast to his recent TV struggles, Whedon has found success at the box office, including his feature "The Avengers."

joss whedon.jpgJoss Whedon

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Missing From Prime Time: Female Directors

Female directors are still largely missing from television's prime-time roster, reports Dave McNary at Variety, citing a report from the Directors Guild of America. The group examined both cable and broadcast programming.

Caucasian males are the dominant group, with 72% of all prime-time episodes directed by that demographic in the 2012-13 season. That's slightly down from the 2011-12 season, when 73% of all episodes were helmed by Caucasian males.

The report, which was released Wednesday, found that the percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian females increased to 12% from 11%. Minority females decreased their presence to 2% from 4%. Minority males represented 13% of all episodes, down from 14%.

The study pointed out 13 shows that included no female directors last season, including "Falling Skies" on TNT and "Supernatural" on The CW.

“But we can’t ignore the shows on our ‘Worst Of’ lists -- how is it possible, in this day and age, that more than a dozen series didn’t hire even a single woman or minority director all season?” said Betty Thomas, co-chair of the DGA's Diversity Task Force.

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Concert Promoter Cleared in Michael Jackson's Death

Michael Jackson's family lost its lawsuit stemming from the death of the pop superstar, with concert promoter AEG Live cleared of wrongful death allegations, reports People magazine.

The singer's mother and children shouldn't receive damages, according to a jury in the Los Angeles Superior Court case. The panel found that Dr. Conrad Murray, who gave Jackson a lethal dose of an anesthetic, wasn't unfit or incompetent.

"The jury's decision completely vindicates AEG Live, confirming what we have known from the start -- that although Michael Jackson's death was a terrible tragedy, it was not a tragedy of AEG Live's making," an attorney for AEG said.

Attorneys had argued over whether Murray was an employee of Jackson's or the concert promoter. Murray wasn't part of the trial. The doctor was convicted of manslaughter in November 2011 and will be released from jail later this month.

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Coroner: Cory Monteith Was Downing Champagne and Shooting Heroin on the Night He Died

The late "Glee" actor Cory Monteith was drinking champagne and shooting heroin on the evening he died, according to the final coroner's report, TMZ.com reports.

The report says responders found a "spoon with drug residue and a used hypodermic needle," as well as two empty champagne bottles and glasses in the room. The report lists the cause of death as "mixed drug toxicity, involving intravenous heroin use combined with the ingestion of alcohol."

Because he had stopped using alcohol and drugs during rehab, he may have had a lower tolerance, the coroner's report suggests.

The coroner's report notes that the actor "had a history of illicit drug use with intermittent periods of rehabilitation and of abstinence from drugs."

Monteith died at age 31.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for cory-monteith.jpgCory Monteith

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Will Next Year Be the Last in the Booth for Legendary Dodgers Broadcaster Vin Scully?

Vin Scully, who has been announcing Los Angeles Dodgers games for more than 60 years, is hinting that the 2014 season could be his last, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"The legendary Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play man announced in August that he would return next season for his 65th year with the team. Now he tells KPCC radio that the 2014 campaign could be his last," the story notes.

In the radio interview, Scully said, "Right, I’m pretty well sure -- and I don’t want to go back and forth with it -- but I’m looking to next year and thinking that should be about it."

Scully, who turns 86 next month and works on a one-year contract, first announced a Dodgers game in 1950, when the team played in Brooklyn, the story says. No other broadcaster has been with the same team for the length of time that he has.

Thumbnail image for vin-scully-dodgers.pngVin Scully

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HBO Developing Comedy From Oprah Winfrey's Company

HBO is working on a comedy, produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions, which is based on the novel "These Things Happen" by television writer and producer Richard Kramer, reports Deadline.com.

Kramer, of "thirtysomething" and "My So-Called Life," will write the script and executive produce the project, which is based in New York City and focuses on a gay couple and a straight couple who share a teenage son.

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Amanda Bynes' Mother Lashes Out at Media

Lynn Bynes, the mother of troubled actress Amanda Bynes, told People magazine that her daughter "will get through this situation" and took aim at the media.

"I would really like everyone out there to know that almost 99 percent of the things written about my daughter in various media outlets are false or misleading," Lynn, 66, told the publication in a statement.

She added, "Unless it's a statement issued by our family attorney, Tamar Arminak, please take everything you read about Amanda with a grain of salt."

Bynes has been hospitalized at various locations since a July incident in which she set a driveway on fire. She's now in a Malibu facility where she will stay for what People says is the "foreseeable future."

"We appreciate everyone's heartfelt support and we hope that she can get some privacy and the respect she deserves during this trying time," Lynn Bynes said. "Both my husband and I love Amanda very much and we know that she will get through this situation."

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Video: Up to Now, Tesla Stock Has Been on Fire. Now a Real Fire in a Tesla Causes Stock to Burn. See the Video, Read How Much Value the Stock Lost

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. fell after an Internet video showed flames spewing from the vehicle, which Tesla has touted as the safest car in America, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

USA Today's version of the story says, "Investors in electric car company and Wall Street darling Tesla were burned today to the tune of a 6.2% share price drop after a YouTube video showed a Model S sedan blazing after an accident near Seattle.

"Shares in Tesla Motors shed $12.05 to close at $180.95 for the stock's biggest one-day decline since July 16. In after-hours trading, the shares fell another 1.3% to $178.55."

The Star Tribune reports that the fire that "destroyed a Tesla electric car near Seattle began in the vehicle's battery pack, officials said Wednesday, creating challenges for firefighters who tried to put out the flames.

"Company spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean said the fire Tuesday was caused by a large metallic object hitting one of the battery pack's modules in the pricey Model S. The fire was contained to a small section at the front of the vehicle, she said, and no one was injured."

The Star Tribune story adds: "The liquid-cooled 85 kilowatt-hour battery in the Tesla Model S is mounted below the passenger compartment floor and uses lithium-ion chemistry similar to the batteries in laptop computers and mobile phones. Investors and companies have been particularly sensitive to the batteries' fire risks, especially given issues in recent years involving the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car and Boeing's new 787 plane."

The Tesla Model S generally retails for about $70,000. To read more details about the car fire, we urge you to click on the link above to the Star Tribune story. Meanwhile, here's the video of the car fire:

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TVWeek's Visual Pun of the Day: It's the Best (Groaning) Post-'Breaking Bad' Joke We've Read

So here's the name of the series that "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan should come up with next: "Heroine."

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Amazon Instant Video Gives Green Light to Three Comedy Pilots. They Include Scripts by Emmy-, Oscar- and Tony-Nominated Writers

"Amazon today announced it has given the green light for the production of three new half-hour pilots," the Internet giant announced today.

The announcement continues: "New pilots include 'Mozart in the Jungle' written by Academy Award nominee Roman Coppola ('The Darjeeling Limited'), Jason Schwartzman ('Moonrise Kingdom,' 'Rushmore') and Alex Timbers ('Peter and the Starcatcher'); 'The Outlaws' written by Jeremy Garelick ('The Break-Up') and Jon Weinbach; and 'Transparent' written and directed by Emmy Award nominee Jill Soloway ('Six Feet Under'). Customers will be invited to watch, provide feedback and help determine which pilots should be produced as series to air exclusively on Prime Instant Video and Amazon’s LOVEFiLM in the UK in early 2014."

Here's a little about each show. To read the full press announcement about the shows, please click here.

Mozart in the Jungle

" 'Mozart in the Jungle' was written by Oscar-nominated writer and director Roman Coppola ('Moonrise Kingdom,' 'The Darjeeling Limited'), actor and musician Jason Schwartzman ('Saving Mr. Banks,' 'Moonrise Kingdom,' 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'), and Tony-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers ('Peter and the Starcatcher'). The project is based on the memoir 'Mozart in the Jungle' by Blair Tindall. 'Mozart in the Jungle' is all about sex, drugs -- and classical music -- and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens on stage."

The Outlaws

"Written by Jeremy Garelick and Jon Weinbach, 'The Outlaws' is all about the ins and outs of a professional football team from the perspective of both the players and the back office. 'The Outlaws' creative team also includes Matt Alvarez and Michael Strahan, former football player for the New York Giants and host of 'Live with Kelly and Michael.' "


"Written and directed by Emmy nominee and 2013 Sundance Best Director winner Jill Soloway ('Afternoon Delight,' 'Six Feet Under' and 'United States of Tara'), 'Transparent' is a darkly comedic story about an LA family with serious boundary issues. In this exploration of sex, memory, gender and legacy, the past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone's secrets to spill out. Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass star in the pilot."

Again, to see the entire press release, please click here.

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Widespread Casualties in Tuesday's Ratings -- One Network Is Hit Especially Hard

Reality may be sinking in for some broadcast networks that got off to hot starts with the launch of the new fall season. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the entire prime-time lineups of CBS and ABC, along with most of the Fox lineup, all incurred losses Tuesday night from premiere week, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

Meanwhile, NBC's "The Voice" kept rolling along, delivering a 4.4 average rating in 18-49 to easily come in as the night's top show among the broadcast nets. But "The Voice," too, was down -- slipping 6% from a week ago. NBC's "Chicago Fire" was just about the only prime-time show on the big four broadcast nets to buck the overall downtrend, rising 4% from the premiere to record a 2.8.

The carnage was the worst on ABC, where prime time fell by hefty double-digits across the board. "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." was down 34% from a week ago in the 18-49 demo with a 3.1 average rating; "The Goldbergs" lost 29% to settle for a 2.2; "Trophy Wife" plummeted 39% to a feeble 1.4; and "Lucky 7" saw a 38% decline to slip from an already troublesome 1.3 average last week to a 0.8.

The CBS casualties were less severe but just as widespread, with "NCIS" falling 6% to a 3.4 average in 18-49; "NCIS: Los Angeles" off 10% to a 2.7; and "Person of Interest" notching a series low, falling 13% to a 2.0.

Fox saw declines for three of its four shows, with just one -- "The Mindy Project" -- able to break even. "Mindy" equaled last week's 1.5 average in viewers 18-49, while "Dads" fell 13% to a 1.3, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" lost 22% to deliver a 1.4, and "New Girl" was down 10% with a 1.9 average.

When the dust settled, NBC was comfortably on top for prime time overall, averaging a 3.8 in adults 18-49 to lead CBS (2.7 average), ABC (1.9), Fox (1.5) and Univision (1.3). CBS took the top spot in total viewers with 15.4 million, ahead of NBC (12.5 million), ABC (5.5 million), Fox (3.4 million) and Univision (3.3 million).

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One Costume Is Set to Be the Most Popular for Halloween This Year -- It's an Easy Call If You Think About It, Including One Really Obvious Accessory

The Halloween costume that prognosticators are pointing to as the most likely to be No. 1 this year is an obvious choice: Miley Cyrus -- probably the MTV Video Music Awards version, complete with the "infamous foam finger" accessory, rather than the harder-to-pull-off version of Miley best described as "naked and riding a wrecking ball."

E! Online reports that replicas of that foam finger are "already flying off shelves," adding: "And you thought you had an original idea!"

The report notes: "There are currently two vendors on Amazon that are selling copies of the foam finger, which Miley used to make raunchy gestures while grinding up against Robin Thicke during the show, but the red-nailed replicas are reportedly selling out quickly, indicating Miley Cyrus just may be one of the most popular Halloween costumes this year."

What about the rest of Cyrus' twerk-ready gear? "T-shirts that bear an image of the 20-year-old pop star's twerking teddy bear leotard are also available on the site, although it's not quite as easy to get your hands on a pair of the flesh-colored latex bra and panties she stripped down to later in the show," E! reports.

The piece notes that both foam fingers are listed for under $15, with the T-shirts selling for under $23.

miley-cyrus-vmas-tongue-foam-finger.jpgMiley Cyrus at the VMAs, featuring the trademark
protruding tongue and "infamous foam finger"

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CBS Picks Up 12 Emmys for News and Documentary Work -- We Have All the Winners

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the winners of the 34th annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards, with CBS picking up more hardware than any other outlet.

The network claimed 12 Emmys, leading PBS with nine, HBO with six and CNN with three. The only other multiple winners were National Geographic Channel and NBC, with two apiece.

Claiming one Emmy win apiece were ABC, AXS TV, BBC World News, Center for Investigative Reporting, Discovery Channel, JFK Presidential Library & Museum, The New York Times and Science Channel.

Regional reporting winners were KING 5 TV in Seattle and WBZ in Boston.

PBS's "Frontline" was the most honored program, with seven Emmys -- one apiece for the reports "The Battle for Syria," "Big Sky, Big Money," "Frontline Fall Preview: How Come?," "Inside Japan's Nuclear Meltdown," "The Interrupters," "Money, Power and Wall Street," and "Opium Brides."

CBS's "60 Minutes" took home six Emmys, including two apiece for the reports "Joy in the Congo" and "Killing Bin Laden," along with single trophies for "Aleppo" and "A Hard Landing."

Among HBO Documentary Films' six Emmys were two for "Saving Face" and one for "In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt's Unfinished Revolution."

"CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" won three Emmys, including outstanding coverage of a breaking news story in a regularly scheduled newscast, for "The Fight for Idlib."

Please click here to see the full list of winners.

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ABC to Bring Back Its Full Slate of Scripted Summer Shows

ABC has picked up a summer drama series for a second season, locking in the final piece of the puzzle that will mark the return of its full slate of scripted summer shows. Deadline.com reports that the network renewed the Canadian-produced series "Motive."

"With last week’s renewal of fellow freshman 'Mistresses' and the previous pickup of veteran Canadian import 'Rookie Blue,' ABC will be bringing back its entire summer scripted lineup next summer," the story reports.

"Created by Daniel Cerone ('Dexter'), 'Motive' opened with a 1.4/4 in adults 18-49 behind 'Dancing With The Stars' in May and was relatively steady, ending its first season with the same rating last month," the piece notes.

Kristin Lehman and Louis Ferreira star in the series.

"It takes a different spin on the crime procedural format by identifying the killer and victim at the beginning of each episode and then piecing together the connection between the two characters and what drove the killer to commit murder," the story notes.

Kristin-Lehman.jpgKristin Lehman

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'Two and a Half Men' Actress Gets a Promotion

An actress who has been seen on the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" has received a promotion from the show. E! Online reports that Amber Tamblyn, who joined the show this year in a guest role, will now be a series regular.

"Tamblyn plays Jenny, the illegitimate daughter of Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) who moved back to Los Angeles to try her hand at acting and find whatever family she has left," the story reports. "She moved in with Walden (Ashton Kutcher) and her uncle Alan (Jon Cryer). And yes, she is just like her father. Her two loves are booze and women."

Show creator Chuck Lorre has described Jenny as "a pretty remarkably strong and ballsy character" and "a chip off the old block," the story notes.

He added: "The idea that she loves women seems to be something that just felt right."

The report adds: "Tamblyn's TV acting credits include 'House' and 'Joan of Arcadia,' the latter of which earned her an Emmy and Golden Globe Award nomination. Her film resume includes as 'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,' '127 Hours' and 'Django Unchained.'"

Thumbnail image for Amber-Tamblyn.jpgAmber Tamblyn

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Well-Known Comedian About to Ratchet Up His Media Presence

A deal announced today has a well-known comedian on the verge of becoming an even bigger media presence than he already is. The comedian is George Lopez, who inked an overall film and TV deal with Pantelion Films and South Shore, two entities that are part of a partnership between Lionsgate and Televisa.

"The first Lopez TV projects for U.S. networks from South Shore, a TV studio venture between Televisa’s U.S. studio division, Televisa USA, and Lionsgate, include several comedies and an action drama in development with Stan Lee," the companies said in announcing the deal. "Lopez, who is represented by CAA/3 Arts, is also starring in 'Saint George,' from Lionsgate Television and Lionsgate’s television distribution company, Debmar-Mercury, using the company’s pioneering 10+90 model. The half-hour sitcom is currently in production and will premiere on FX in early 2014."

Another key element of the deal is "La Vida Robot," an English-language feature film starring and produced by Lopez with principal photography set to begin later this month in New Mexico. "The film is based on a true David & Goliath story about four undocumented Mexican-American teenagers from Phoenix who form a robotics team," the announcement says. "With 800 bucks, used car parts and a dream, they build an underwater robot that wins the national robotics competition, taking down reigning champion MIT."

The movie will be directed by Sean McNamara of "Soul Surfer."

In the announcement, Pantelion Films CEO and Televisa USA Managing Director Paul Presburger said: “We’re thrilled to be in the George Lopez business. George is a comic superstar and brand name in the Latino community, and he reflects the kind of A-list Latino film and TV talent we’re recruiting for our Pantelion and South Shore partnerships."

george lopez.pngGeorge Lopez

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Author Tom Clancy, Whose Novels Have Been Widely Adapted for Feature Films and TV, Dead at 66

Novelist Tom Clancy, whose books including "The Hunt for Red October," "Patriot Games," "Clear and Present Danger" and "The Sum of All Fears" have been widely adapted into a variety of media including feature films, television productions and video games, has died, USA Today reports.

Clancy reportedly died Tuesday night at Johns Hopkins Hospital, near his home in Baltimore, after what is being described as a brief illness. He was 66.

"Born in Baltimore, Clancy was an insurance salesman before he went on to write blockbuster espionage books," USA Today reports. The piece adds: "Clancy had seven No. 1 USA Today best sellers, either solo or with a co-author, and 53 books total in the top 150, solo or with a co-author."

The report notes: "The books spawned commercially successful films with actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck as Clancy's famous fictional character Jack Ryan. Clancy's other famous character, John Clark, has been played by actors Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber."

Clancy's first "NetForce" novel was adapted into a 1999 television movie starring Scott Bakula. In 1995, NBC aired the miniseries "Tom Clancy's Op-Center," starring Harry Hamlin.

His writings have also been the basis of a number of video games, including releases in the "Splinter Cell" and "Rainbow Six" series.

Clancy's editor, Tom Colgan, told USA Today in 2011, following the release of "Against All Enemies": "Tom's novels have always been prescient, whether they were about technology or military tactics or geo-political maneuvering."

USA Today adds: "Clancy and his first wife, Wanda, married in 1969, and divorced in 1999. He went on to marry freelance journalist Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, whom he had met in 1997."

A new Jack Ryan novel, "Command Authority," is due to be published Dec. 3.

tom clancy.jpgTom Clancy

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ABC News Mainstay Bolts for Fox News

A newsman who has appeared on ABC for more than three decades is making the move to Fox News. Writing in The New York Times, Bill Carter reports that George Will is headed to the cable news channel.

"Mr. Will has been best known as a voice on ABC’s Sunday morning political discussion show, 'This Week,' going back to its origin in 1981, when David Brinkley was the host. He has also been a regular commentator on ABC’s political and election coverage," Carter writes.

The conservative Will, 72, will be added to Fox News' commentary panels on many of its regular shows, such as "Fox News Sunday."

Carter reports: "Mr. Will’s departure from ABC after such a long tenure was seen as something of a surprise but essentially came down to geography, according to the ABC News spokesman, Jeffrey Schneider. He pointed out that 'This Week,' which in the past was based in Washington, Mr. Will’s home, now broadcasts three weeks out of four from New York."

“The travel just became an issue for George,” Schneider told The Times. “But we honor his contributions to ABC News and we think the world of him.”

ABC said it does not plan to hire anyone to replace Will.

george will.jpgGeorge Will

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After First Week of New Season, What Are the Takeaways?

The first week of the television season started strong with dramas such as Fox's "Sleepy Hollow," but dwindled to a "whimper" by Sunday, reports Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

So what are the lessons to be learned from the week? Several things still matter for a show's success, including lead-ins and marketing, she notes.

"Lead-in still matters unless your title has Marvel in it. 'The Voice' has successfully launched a third consecutive series, NBC’s 'The Blacklist,' one of the breakouts this fall," she notes.

As for marketing, the shows that got a lot of promotion, such as "Blacklist" and "Sleepy Hollow," performed well. "Some, like ABC’s 'The Goldbergs' reaped the benefits of both a big promotional push and strong lead-in," the story points out. "But when the show was left on its own, the wheels came off. And a massive launch campaign didn’t help ... CBS's 'Hostages.'"

Premiere week is "only a snapshot," Andreeva notes, adding: "Still, for the most part, the snapshot is accurate in predicting which shows have a shot at staying on for the long run and which are heading into the proverbial bubble a week in."

The numbers for premiere week show two of the broadcast networks -- NBC and ABC -- are up from a year ago in the key 18-49 demo, while the other two big four nets, CBS and Fox, are down. NBC led the way with a 3.1 average rating (up 7%), followed by ABC with a 2.3 (up 5%), CBS with a 2.2 (down 8%) and Fox with a 2.2 (down 15%).

In total viewers, only NBC is up from a year ago. CBS led total viewers for premiere week 2013 with an average of 10.377 million (down 3% from 2012), followed by NBC with 9.713 million (up 19%), ABC with 7.990 million (down 4%) and Fox with 6.012 million (down 13%).

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NBC Cancels Summer Drama Series

The Peacock Network has canceled a summer drama series. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that NBC won't be bringing back its drama "Camp" for a second season.

The network canceled the low-cost series after a 13-week first season. The series starred Rachel Griffiths and focused on a camp for adults and their kids. It was picked up in January with a straight-to-series order.

"Although stronger than NBC's other scripted summer effort, 'Siberia,' 'Camp' did little in the way of ratings," THR reports. "With time-shifting, the series averaged just a 1.2 rating among adults 18 to 49 -- opening to a reasonable 1.5 rating in the key demo with 5 million viewers and steadily dipping throughout its 13-week run."

The report notes that two other dramas that rolled out this summer on broadcast nets -- ABC's "Mistresses" and CBS's "Under the Dome" -- have been picked up for second seasons.


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Report: Casey Kasem's 'Dire Condition' Leads to Family Feud

The legendary DJ Casey Kasem is said to be in "dire condition," leading to a family feud as his wife won't allow his children to visit him, reports TMZ.com.

The children -- Kerri, Julie and Mike -- have reportedly been trying to visit their father for three months, the story says. They have been standing outside the house, prompting their stepmother, Jean Kasem, to call the police on them, according to the report.

Casey Kasem has advanced Parkinson's.

"Casey's brother, who is on the scene, tells TMZ Jean has had a strained relationship with Casey's kids for years," TMZ reports. "The brother says he hasn't spoken with Jean since Casey married her -- 33 years. Kerri, Casey's oldest daughter, tells us Jean has aggressively blocked the kids from the house."

One of the daughters, Kerri, told TMZ that they know they've been excluded from their father's will, but are simply trying to see their dad.

Aside from Kasem's work on radio, which includes the nationally syndicated staple "American Top 40," he voiced the character Shaggy on the popular Saturday morning cartoon "Scooby-Doo."

Jean Kasem has had a career as an actress, originating the