Jun 24, 2016
3:44 pm

George Lucas Scraps Planned Chicago Museum, Shifts Focus to California (Chicago Tribune)

“Star Wars” creator George Lucas is abandoning plans to build a museum on Chicago’s lakefront that would have showcased his art collection. The Chicago Tribune reports that Lucas will instead try to build the museum in California.

The move ends months of debate and controversy, the paper reports, noting: “The Lucas Museum proposal has been on hold since November 2014, when the group Friends of the Parks filed a federal lawsuit blocking construction.”

In a statement announcing that he’s scrapping the Chicago plan, Lucas said: “No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot. The actions initiated by Friends of Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government.”

Friends of Parks did not feel the project belonged in the lakefront area. The organization’s leaders issued a statement saying: “It is unfortunate that the Lucas Museum has made the decision to leave Chicago rather than locate the museum on one of several alternative sites that is not on Chicago’s lakefront. That would have been the true win-win.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti seized on the moment to release a statement courting the project for L.A.

“The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art would be perfect for Los Angeles,” the statement from Garcetti said. “Tens of millions of people visit our city every year — and L.A. has unquestioned stature as a world arts capital, thanks to institutions like the Broad, the Getty, MOCA and LACMA. We would welcome the opportunity to be a permanent home for this incredible collection, which would become part of a museum culture that is unrivaled in the United States.”

Jun 24, 2016
3:19 pm

Frito-Lay Seeks Photos of Weird-Shaped Cheetos — and They Can Be Worth Big Bucks (TVWeek)

A manatee swimming, a person just about to kick, Macho Poser and T Rex on a rock are just a few of the weird-shaped Cheetos with their photos on display in the online Cheetos Museum, where the Community Gallery is accepting submissions and offering prizes of up to $10,000 in a new promotion.

Frito-Lay, the company behind Cheetos, will reportedly hand out a total of $250,000. A menagerie of pets, barnyard animals and dinosaurs can already be found at the site, even as word is still getting out.

Entries are being taken through Aug. 15, with voting scheduled for Aug. 24-31.

Rules are available at the Cheetos Museum.


Jun 24, 2016
3:01 pm

Why Viewers in the U.K. Were Prevented From Seeing John Oliver’s ‘Brexit’ Rant Before the Election (You Can Watch It Here Now) (Deadline, HBO)

British TV viewers were prevented from seeing a segment on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” in which the host railed against the British exit from the European Union, until after Thursday’s vote on the issue.

The episode aired Sunday in the U.S., and the segment was also posted on YouTube on Sunday night. But Deadline.com reports that British broadcaster Sky delayed the telecast.

“Sky said it was compelled to delay the blistering 15-minute screed, owing to UK’s pesky Ofcom regs that prevent broadcasters from airing things that might actually impact voting,” Deadline reports. “Unlike newspapers, which are allowed to print things that might actually impact voting. Which is just what Sky owner Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers did, only The Sun and Sunday Times backed Brexit.”

Deadline quotes a statement from Sky saying that the company had “complied with the Ofcom broadcasting restrictions at times of elections and referendums that prohibit us showing this section of the programme at this moment in time.” The statement added: “We will be able to show it once the polls have closed.”

Meanwhile, Oliver’s Brexit rant has chalked up almost 7 million views on YouTube, where it appears in heavily bleeped form. Here it is …

Jun 24, 2016
2:37 pm

Actor Slams Trump’s ‘Vitriolic and Hate-Filled Rhetoric’ in New York Times Op-Ed (NY Times)

In an op-ed piece published today in The New York Times, popular actor and comedian Aziz Ansari says prejudice is on the rise — and hate speech from Donald Trump and others is contributing to it.

“It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray. It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense,” writes Ansari, known for his role on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” and for his comedy concerts on Netflix and Comedy Central.

Ansari, the son of Muslim immigrants, talks about cautioning his mother not to go near a mosque in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings. “I realized how awful it was to tell an American citizen to be careful about how she worshiped,” he notes.

Focusing on Trump, Ansari writes: “He has said that people in the American Muslim community ‘know who the bad ones are,’ implying that millions of innocent people are somehow complicit in awful attacks. Not only is this wrongheaded; but it also does nothing to address the real problems posed by terrorist attacks. By Mr. Trump’s logic, after the huge financial crisis of 2007-08, the best way to protect the American economy would have been to ban white males.”

Jun 24, 2016
10:59 am

‘Dance Moms’ Star to Plead Guilty In $5 Million Fraud Case (Deadline, Lifetime)

Abby Lee Miller, the star of Lifetime’s “Dance Moms,” has agreed to a deal with federal prosecutors and will plead guilty next week in a $5 million fraud case.

Details of the agreement were not released, but Deadline.com cites sources saying the deal “will likely see Miller escape significant jail time and pay a bulky fine in the case, which could have seen her behind bars for up to five years and paying out more than $5 million in fines.”

Miller, who was indicted last October on 20 counts of fraud, was due to submit pretrial motions in a little more than a week.

In a statement released Thursday by her attorneys Brandon Verdream and Robert Ridge and posted by Lifetime, Miller said: “Events over the past several months have been extremely challenging for me, my family, my friends and most important, my students. Because of this I made the very difficult decision to close the door on this chapter of my life by accepting responsibility for mistakes I have made along the way. I appreciate all the wonderful messages of support I’ve received from around the world and look forward to the future and getting back to my life’s work; helping young dancers fulfill their potential.”

Deadline notes: “As of now, ‘Dance Moms’ is set to return to the cable channel for the second part of its sixth season in the fall with Miller hosting.”

dance moms-title

Jun 24, 2016
10:51 am

CBS Shuffles This Sunday’s Schedule, Will Rebroadcast Series Premiere (TVWeek)

CBS has announced a tweak to its prime-time lineup for this Sunday, pulling the broadcast of an “Elementary” repeat that was previously announced and replacing it with a rebroadcast of the “American Gothic” series premiere.

The new drama series stars Juliet Rylance, Antony Starr, Virginia Madsen, Justin Chatwin, Megan Ketch, Elliot Knight, Stephanie Leonidas and Gabriel Bateman.

The premiere episode, “Arrangement in Grey and Black,” will now encore at 10 p.m. Sunday, June 26.

CBS released the following description of the episode:

“A prominent Boston family reels in the wake of the chilling discovery that someone in their midst is linked to an infamous string of murders. After 14 years, the case of ‘The Silver Bells Killer’ is reopened and the Hawthorne family find themselves wondering if one of their own could be behind the grisly killings that rocked the city of Boston. As shocking secrets from the past and present are revealed, their mounting suspicion and paranoia that one of them is a killer threatens to tear the family apart.”

american gothic-cbs-2016

Jun 24, 2016
10:47 am

Media Stocks Suffer Across Europe and U.K. Following ‘Brexit’ Vote (Deadline)

Media stocks fell this morning on London’s FTSE and across Europe in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to exit the European Union.

“Shares in pan-Euro pay TV giant Sky were down almost 8% by noon UK time, while ITV was down by almost 19%,” Deadline.com reports. “eOne’s share price was down just over 10%. Pinewood’s share price was faring better, dropping just over 3%.”

In Europe, French media giant Vivendi saw its shares slip 6% by midday and Italy’s Mediaset fell more than 8%, the report adds.

The report quotes Studiocanal UK chief Danny Perkins saying: “Short term it’s bad news for the currency and terrible news for film acquisitions, which are normally done in dollars or euros. UK companies will suffer in the short term.”

sky logo

Jun 24, 2016
10:39 am

Fallout From Brexit Vote: British Prime Minister David Cameron — Who Wanted the U.K. to Stay in the European Union — Says He Will Resign (CNN)

The fallout continues from the “Brexit” vote in Britain, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying he will resign. Cameron was a supporter of the country’s remaining in the European Union.

The move comes amid turmoil in financial markets worldwide in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

“There was a mixture of jubilation and tearful disbelief in the UK as people awoke Friday to the final verdict in the extremely close vote that deeply divided the nation,” CNN reports. “Europe was plunged into uncertainty following the result, with calls for further referendums from emboldened far-right groups who see it as a boost for their anti-EU, anti-immigration policies.”

CNN adds: “Within hours of Thursday’s ballot outcome — 51.89% in favor of leaving the EU, with 48.11% against — Cameron delivered an emotionally charged statement outside the door of 10 Downing Street, announcing his intention to stand down.”

Said Cameron: “The British people have voted to leave the EU and their will must be respected… the will of the British people is an instruction which must be delivered. There can be no doubt about the result.”

The process of exiting the EU is expected to take at least two years for Britain, which has been a part of the group since 1973. Cameron indicated that he wants a new leader to be in place by October.

“Boris Johnson, a former London mayor who campaigned for the UK’s departure from the EU, is tipped by bookmakers as Cameron’s likely successor,” CNN adds.

Jun 24, 2016
10:31 am

One of the Founding Fathers of Bluegrass Dies (TVWeek)

A singer and musician who was a pioneer and elder statesman of bluegrass music has died. Ralph Stanley died Thursday at age 89 after battling skin cancer.

Stanley’s official website announced his death.

Stanley was a patriarch of Appalachian music, helping to popularize the genre that evolved into bluegrass through 20 years of performances with his brother Carter. Ralph and Carter Stanley began touring as the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946.

Carter Stanley, who was the group’s main songwriter, lead singer and frontman, died of liver disease in 1966, but Ralph Stanley kept the band going. Over the next several decades his uncompromising “high lonesome” vocals became one of the defining sounds of the bluegrass genre, and well into the 21st century the Clinch Mountain Boys, featuring Stanley’s virtuoso clawhammer banjo picking, were still going strong.

“After Carter’s death, Ralph drew even deeper from his Appalachian roots, adopting the a cappella singing style of the Primitive Baptist church where he was raised,” his website notes. “He reformed the Clinch Mountain Boys band to include Ray Cline, vocalist Larry Sparks and Melvin Goins. He would change the lineup of the band over the years, later including Jack Cooke, and mentored younger artists like Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs, who also performed with him.”

In his later years, Ralph Stanley became a part of a resurgence for bluegrass music that was sparked by the popularity of the 2000 Coen Brothers movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Stanley’s signature a cappella rendition of “O Death” was featured in the film and on the movie’s soundtrack album, which topped the Billboard 200 chart and sold millions of copies.

“He won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance in 2002 — beating out Tim McGraw, Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Lyle Lovett — and was the focus of a successful tour and documentary inspired by the soundtrack,” his website notes. “The soundtrack, produced by T Bone Burnett, also won a Grammy for album of the year.”

Ralph Stanley won another Grammy the following year, for best bluegrass album for “Lost in the Lonesome Pines,” a collaboration with Jim Lauderdale.

Below is a clip featuring Stanley performing just one year ago, singing “Rank Stranger” at the Huck Finn Jubilee in California as part of a lineup that includes banjo legend Bela Fleck and young bluegrass star Sierra Hull …

Jun 24, 2016
9:37 am

Sinead O’Connor Offers Colorful Rebuke to Latest Suicide Rumor (Rolling Stone, YouTube, TVWeek)

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor resurfaced this morning after a report circulated that she had threatened to jump off a bridge in Chicago. She disputed the report and indicated that she’s alive and well, Rolling Stone reports.

O’Connor mentioned Thursday’s suicide rumors in an expletive-laced Facebook post today where she also commented on Britain’s “Brexit” vote. The singer said in the post that the latest police investigation was the result of “false and malicious gossip.”

She also celebrated the possibility that the vote by Britain to leave the European Union might help create an independent Ireland.

The often controversial O’Connor added in her Facebook post: “Oh and by the way it’s bullshit I jumped off a bridge, some stupid bitch up at Swords Garda station decided she’d like to throw a bit of false and malicious gossip about is all.”

Swords Garda is a police station in Dublin.

Rolling Stone adds: “O’Connor’s emotional wellbeing, as well as an ongoing rift with close family members, has become headline fodder in recent months as the singer continues to air her personal problems on public forums like Facebook.”

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