Jul 28, 2015
9:21 am

Lawsuit Accuses Conan of Stealing Jokes (THR)

A lawsuit has been filed against Conan O’Brien, TBS and members of the Conan team alleging copyright violation on four jokes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The complaint, filed in a California federal court, alleges that jokes about Tom Brady, Caitlyn Jenner, airlines and the Washington Monument were lifted from Robert Kaseberg, THR reports. The San Diego man, who filed the suit July 22, says the jokes were posted on his personal blog and on Twitter before they found their way into the “Conan” monologue.

The report cites an example that Kaseberg says he published on Jan. 14, 2015, in which he reportedly wrote: “A Delta flight this week took off from Cleveland to New York with just two passengers. And they fought over control of the armrest the entire flight.” O’Brien reportedly told essentially the same note that night on his show.


Jul 28, 2015
9:09 am

Tom Cruise Lights It Up in Lip Sync Battle With Jimmy Fallon — Here’s the Video (NBC, YouTube)

Tom Cruise dropped in on NBC’s “Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” for a lip sync battle for the ages against the late-night show’s host, delivering a knockout rendition of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and joining Fallon for a duet on “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.”

Here’s the video:

Jul 28, 2015
9:01 am

Netflix Rolls Out Launch Dates, Announces Series Renewal (USA Today)

Netflix made a batch of programming announcements today, including announcing the renewal of the series “BoJack Horseman” for a third season, USA Today reports. The animated show’s second season rolled out July 17.

“The streaming service also announced premiere dates for the fourth season of ‘Longmire’ (Sept. 10) and Aziz Ansari’s new series — which also gets a name — ‘Master of None’ (Nov. 6) at the start of its session on the opening day of the Television Critics Association summer press tour,” the publication reports.

The Western-themed “Longmire” moves to Netflix for a 10-episode season four after airing its first three seasons on A&E.

Netflix also took the wraps off premiere dates for a number of original comedy specials, the report notes. “Demetri Martin: Live (At the Time)” is due Aug. 14; “Anjelah Johnson: Not Fancy” bows Oct. 2; “Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts and Prayers” rolls out Oct. 16; “John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid” arrives Nov. 13; “Brent Morin” debuts Dec. 1; and “Mike Epps: After Dark” unspools Dec. 18.

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Jul 28, 2015
8:44 am

NBCU Announces Succession for Key Executive Post (Multichannel News)

NBCUniversal has announced a change in a top executive position, where a 27-year veteran of the company is headed out. Multichannel News reports that the media giant promoted Ian Trombley to president of operations and technical services.

Trombley succeeds NBCU veteran John Wallace, who has been with NBC since signing on as a page in 1988. Trombley “will head up the company’s owned studio and post production operations servicing television and film,” the story reports.

Multichannel News adds: “Trombley and Wallace will work together for the next five weeks for the transition ensure a smooth transition before Trombley assumes the role on September 8, NBCU said.”

Trombley, who has been serving as executive VP of television operations, will report to NBCU Executive VP Adam Miller.


Jul 28, 2015
8:31 am

Plans Set for Documentary About One of Rock’s Greatest Icons (TVWeek)

One of the most iconic musicians in the history of rock ‘n’ roll will be at the center of a new Netflix Original Documentary. Set to premiere on the streaming service on Sept. 18 is “Keith Richards: Under the Influence.”

Directed by Oscar winner Morgan Neville, the program will examine the musical influences that have shaped the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist.

“If there’s a Mount Rushmore of Rock ’n’ Roll, Keith’s face is surely on it,” Neville said. “He has always represented the soul of rock music — for all of the light and dark shades that implies. To my relief, Keith Richards turned out to be a real man — full of humor, knowledge and wisdom. That’s the real Keith we’ve worked to capture in our film and I’m honored to bring it to a global audience via Netflix.”

Please click here for more about the project.


Jul 28, 2015
8:27 am

HBO Returns West for New Series From ‘Friday Night Lights’ Creator (EW)

After successfully mining the Wild West with “Deadwood,” which won acclaim during its run on HBO from 2004-2006, the pay-cable channel is headed west again for a new series.

EW.com reports that HBO has a new Western series in development, “Untamed.”

“The project is executive produced and directed by prolific writer/actor/producer/director Peter Berg (‘Lone Survivor,’ ‘Friday Night Lights’). Mark L Smith (‘Vacancy’) is the writer and executive producer with Alissa Bachner as co-producer,” EW reports.

The report quotes this as the pitch: “Three mismatched travelers set out on a journey along the treacherous trek from 1840s Wyoming, across the Rocky Mountains to Utah — a journey where they’ll be forced to embrace some of their most primitive instincts, both good and bad, to survive.”


Jul 28, 2015
8:11 am

Singer Lands Role on Drama Series (THR)

A multiple Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter will try his hand at acting on a TV drama series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, British recording artist Ed Sheeran is joining the upcoming FX drama “The Bastard Executioner.”

The Medieval series from “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter stars Lee Jones, Stephen Moyer and Katey Sagal. Sheeran will have a recurring role as Sir Cormac, described in the report as “an ambitious and deadly protege of a high-ranking church elder.”

THR notes: “The series, which is being billed as a blood-soaked medieval epic that tells the story of a 14th century warrior whose life is forever changed when a divine messenger beseeches him to lay down his sword and lead the life of a journeyman executioner, is currently filming in Sheeran’s native U.K.”

Sheeran, 24, is a six-time Grammy nominee known for hits including “Thinking Out Loud” and “Sing.”

The show is set for a 10-episode season launching this fall.

Here’s a trailer for “The Bastard Executioner”:

Jul 27, 2015
8:45 pm

Sherri Shepherd Is Returning to ‘The View’ According to a Number of Media Reports (Deadline; Mediaite)

“I have learned that Sherri Shepherd has closed a deal to return to ‘The View’ as a lead contributor for the upcoming 19th season,” reports our friend Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

Andreeva adds, “I hear she is expected to appear in about 50 episodes….Shepherd was among the most popular ‘View’ co-hosts of the past decade. She spent seven seasons on the show, sharing a hosting Emmy Award. She left last August after failing to agree on contract terms with ABC.”

Writes Josh Feldman at Mediaite, “‘The View’ has undergone a lot of changes in the past two years. Here’s a brief summation: Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Barbara Walters all left, while Jenny McCarthy and Rosie O’Donnell came and went, and now newcomers Nicolle Wallace and Rosie Perez are out the door too.

“On top of all that, the daytime show has picked four new people as co-hosts in the past few weeks (two of those have yet to be confirmed). And now, we have multiple reports that one of the women who left [Shepherd] is coming back in a slightly different role.”

As we have previously reported, Whoopi Goldberg is staying with the show, and she is expected to be joined by co-hosts Candace Cameron Bure, Michelle Collins, Paula Faris and Raven-Symone.

SherriShepherdSherri Shepherd on “The View” the First Time Around


Jul 27, 2015
1:51 pm

It’s a Wrap for Popular Comedy Series (Variety)

A series that has earned a strong fan base on cable is coming to an end. Variety reports that Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” will wrap at the end of season five.

The sketch comedy show, which stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, debuted in 2012. Season five rolled out earlier this month and will wrap up in September.

The program “received seven Emmy nominations this year, including noms for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series nod for Key,” Variety notes. “The pair’s contributions helped Comedy Central rack up 25 Emmy noms for the upcoming ceremony.”

The show’s stars, and not Comedy Central, reportedly pulled the plug on the series, as both Key and Peele have plans to pursue other projects.


Jul 27, 2015
1:44 pm

Grateful Dead vs. Backstreet Boys in Battle of the Ages (Deadline)

It was a battle of the ages as one band whose members are, well, industry veterans, to put it mildly, took on another band whose members were young enough to be called Boys. But in the end, it was no contest, as the old guys — the Grateful Dead — spanked the boy band the Backstreet Boys.

Deadline.com reports that the Dead topped the record set by the Backstreet Boys back in 1999 for live music shows on pay-per-view — by a lot. The Grateful Dead reportedly delivered 400,000-plus pay-per-view TV orders for its five-night concert sendoff in California and Chicago, obliterating the previous mark of 160,000 set by the Backstreet Boys in 1999. The Backstreet Boys, the report notes, were the first musical group to reach 100,000 paid views.

“The Dead shows, available on YouTube, the Dish Network, DirecTV, Verizon Fios and AT&T Uverse, ranged in single-show prices from $19.95 to $29.95, with a package deal available at $109.95,” Deadline notes.

The Dead shows remain available through Aug. 2, the report notes.

grateful dead-fare thee well-soldier field

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