February 2013

Explanation of Why Santa Barbara TV Anchor Went Missing for Eight Hours on Wednesday Raises More Questions Than Answers

"[Santa Barbara, Calif., TV station] KEYT anchorwoman Paula Lopez, 48, showed up at her home about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday evening under circumstances nearly as mysterious as those under which she disappeared," reports the Santa Barbara Independent.

Lopez' family issued a statement to KEYT, the article adds, that said, "As a family we were very alarmed because Paula was experiencing a medical condition that caused her to be unable to communicate with us. She is now receiving the appropriate medical care and we hope and expect that her treatment will enable her to recover quickly."

The family has not disclosed the nature of Lopez' medical condition. 

The article notes that "KEYT and the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department released statements yesterday that Lopez had been reported missing at 10 a.m. after having spoken to family members half an hour earlier. The nature of the communication --and the identity of the parties involved -- were not disclosed, but the contents apparently were sufficiently dire for the Sheriff's Department to dispatch a helicopter and two K-9 units to track her down. Although the helicopter, in the air for 90 minutes, was seen by nearly everyone on the South Coast as it swept overhead, it apparently did not spot Lopez."

The story continues, "Lopez, a ninth generation Santa Barbaran and a mainstay of the local media world, has let it be known that her days at KEYT -- which was recently acquired by new owners -- are numbered. Lopez is also married to Judge Frank Ochoa -- now a leading contender to be appointed to the Court of Appeal -- who reportedly left the bench yesterday at 11 a.m." Lopez anchors the 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on the station.

The article adds, "Sheriff's spokesperson Kelly Hoover denied that Lopez and Ochoa were afforded any special considerations because of their status. She said that such searches are called for when authorities have reason to believe the missing person is at risk. In this case, Hoover said the department had reason to be concerned that Lopez might need medical attention."

Furthermore, according to the article, Hoover said "the [Sheriff's] Department was notified by the family that Lopez had returned and that they dispatched deputies to the scene to confirm. When asked whether the deputies determined whether Lopez did or did not need medical attention, Hoover said she was not at liberty to answer any question relating to medical conditions."

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Viewers Flock to 'Duck Dynasty' -- Did Morrissey's 'Kimmel' Protest Help the Show?

A&E’s hit reality show “Duck Dynasty” appears to be the winner in a much-publicized clash between the show’s cast members and rock singer Morrissey. James Hibberd reports on EW.com that the series returned Wednesday night to record ratings, with its third-season premiere bringing in 8.6 million viewers.

The premiere comes amid a flurry of publicity for the show surrounding Morrissey’s decision to back out of an appearance this week on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The British singer, an outspoken animal rights advocate, canceled the appearance in a protest against the show’s other guests, the “Duck Dynasty” cast, calling them “animal serial killers.”

As we reported earlier today, Kimmel responded by joining with the “Duck Dynasty” folks to make a video mocking Morrissey’s position. Click here to see the video.

Hibberd writes of the premiere: “It’s not only the most-watched ‘Duck Dynasty’ episode ever, it’s A&E’s most-watched telecast ever and ranks as cable’s biggest reality show telecast so far this year. The 10 p.m. episode (the first of two back-to-back airings) was up 132 percent vs. the second season premiere. Plus, ‘Dynasty’ had a 4.0 rating among adults 18-49 -- basically tying Fox’s ‘American Idol’ and ABC’s ‘Modern Family.’”

Morrissey has responded to Kimmel. Hibberd’s piece quotes Morrissey saying Kimmel “found time to jokingly promote gun-ownership -- hugely amusing for the parents at Sandy Hook, no doubt. He also promoted his special guests ‘Duck Dynasty’ -- who kill beings for fun. None of the above issues are, of course, as important as Jimmy Kimmel himself, who has finally revealed his show to have an overwhelming loss of meaning. Tune in and relive the intellectual fog of the 1950s.”

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Reporter Caught in Cabin Shootout Hired by CBS News

CBS News has hired a new correspondent, giving the job to a former freelancer who gained attention a few weeks ago when he became caught in a shootout in Southern California between police and fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner, TVNewser.com reports.

Carter Evans was working as a freelance reporter for CBS News and L.A. station KCBS-TV when he was covering the manhunt for Dorner and wound up being the only reporter at the shootout. The network announced that it is bringing him on board full time.

In an email to staffers, CBS News President David Rhodes wrote: “By now the world knows about Carter’s recent coup on the Christopher Dorner story. With producer Chris Weicher and cameraman Javier Gomez, Carter was the only reporter on the scene near Big Bear Lake when authorities closed in on Dorner after a tense manhunt. He continues to work the story today.”

Evans has been a correspondent for CNN, and is married to Courtney Friel, a former Fox News and Los Angeles station KTTV.

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Carter Evans

Here’s a clip containing audio of Evans’ involvement in the firefight earlier this month:

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Ratings Struggle Continues for 'American Idol' as Wednesday's Show Hits a 10-Year Low

Fox’s flagship singing competition “American Idol” continued to suffer viewer erosion Wednesday night, based on Nielsen overnights. But the network still easily beat its broadcast competition.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Fox coasted to a comfortable win in the key 18-49 demo despite “Idol’s” 3.8 average rating -- the show’s lowest number in the demo for a Wednesday night installment since July 3, 2003. The show’s average of 13.15 million total viewers was reportedly its lowest since Aug. 14, 2002.

Fox still came in well ahead of the competition, with its 3.8 average rating in viewers 18-49 for prime time overall outdistancing CBS (2.4 average), ABC (2.2), Univision (1.7) and NBC (1.6). Things were a little tighter in total viewers, but Fox led the way with 13.15 million to CBS’s 9.8 million, ABC’s 6.9 million, NBC’s 5.2 million and Univision’s 4.0 million.

Second-place CBS had mixed results, with the headline being a series low for “CSI.” Its 1.8 average in 18-49 was way down from last week’s 2.3. Meanwhile, “Survivor: Caramoan” ticked up two-tenths to a 2.6, while “Criminal Minds” held steady and also produced a 2.6.

ABC’s “Modern Family” was the top-rated show of the night in the 18-49 demo -- just ahead of “Idol” -- with a 3.9 average, slipping one-tenth from a week ago. “Nashville” fell to a series low with a 1.6, off two-tenths from its previous original episode. “The Middle” (2.1 average) and “The Neighbors” (1.7) both fell two-tenths from last week, but “Suburgatory” broke the trend by climbing three-tenths to a 2.3.

NBC’s best performance came from “Chicago Fire,” which won the 10 p.m. hour with a 1.9 in viewers 18-49 -- even with a week ago. “Law & Order: SVU” also held steady, delivering a 1.6, while “Whitney” rose one-tenth to a 1.2. “Guys With Kids” rebounded a bit from last week’s series low, adding one-tenth to average a 1.1.

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'The Office' Actress Gets Lead in Fox Project

An actress known for her role on NBC’s “The Office” will play the female lead in a new Fox comedy, Deadline.com reports. Angela Kinsey will play opposite Rob Riggle in the pilot “The Gabriels.”

The project is about an antisocial family that tries to act normal and make friends for their kids' sake, the story notes. Kinsey will play the mom, Gail Gabriel, while Riggle will play her husband, Ken.

Tim Meadows is on board as a school principal. The project is written by Andrew Gurland and Justin Hurwitz and directed by Jason Winer, the report notes.

angela-kinsey.jpgAngela Kinsey

 

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Longtime TV Exec to Head AOL Brands

AOL has named a veteran media executive to head up its portfolio of brands, including TechCrunch and Mapquest. Reuters reports that the company appointed board director Susan Lyne to the post.

Lyne is vice chairman of Gilt.com, an online flash sale site for clothing, but her roots are in TV. She was formerly CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and president of ABC Entertainment.

She will vacate her position on AOL’s board to take on the title of CEO of AOL’s Brand Group, overseeing advertising and publisher relationships with an eye toward growing traffic, the story reports.

“Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post website falls under the Brand Group, will continue to report to AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong,” the report notes.

The piece adds: “In a statement, AOL said its Chief Operating Officer Arthur Minson, who is responsible for all AOL's business units -- the Brand Group, AOL Networks and Membership Group -- ‘will stay with the company for a transition period.’"

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Susan Lyne

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Western Hero of TV Shows and Movies Dead at 89

An actor who became famous as a Western hero on the big screen and, especially, in TV series has died. The New York Times reports that Dale Robertson died Wednesday at 89.

Robertson, a skilled rider who grew up in Oklahoma, went on to appear in more than 430 television episodes and 60 films, the story reports. He died of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia.

Robertson starred in TV Westerns such as the NBC/ABC series "Tales of Wells Fargo," which ran from 1957 to 1962, and ABC’s "Iron Horse," which aired from 1966 to 1968. He hosted the long-running “Death Valley Days” for a period of time in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

He also appeared in early episodes of "Dynasty" in 1981, playing an oil wildcatter, and had a recurring role on "Dallas" the following year.

Robertson's many film roles included "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" (1952), "City of Bad Men" (1953), "Sitting Bull" (1954), "Dakota Incident" (1956), "Hell Canyon Outlaws" (1957), “Law of the Lawless” (1964), "Blood on the Arrow" (1964), “The Man From Button Willow” (1965) and “One Eyed Soldiers” (1966).

Robertson preferred to describe himself as a personality with a distinctive style, rather than an actor, the story adds.

"An actor can change himself to fit a part, whereas a personality has to change the part to fit himself,” he said in a 1988 interview.

Dale-Robertson2.jpgDale Robertson

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Shakeup Behind the Scenes on 'The Walking Dead'

AMC confirmed that it has replaced the showrunner on its hit series "The Walking Dead," marking the third showrunner for the series in its first four seasons, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

The new showrunner for the upcoming fourth season is Scott M. Gimple, who has been on the program's writing staff since the second season. He replaces Glen Mazzara, who replaced Frank Darabont after he left early in the second season, the story notes.

Robert Kirkman, who created the graphic novel that's the basis for the show and who is also an executive producer, said, "Scott has been an essential part of this show since he came aboard at the very beginning of season two. He's contributed to guiding this show in a substantial way that has resulted in a lot of the key scenes and storylines fans have dubbed signature moments of 'The Walking Dead.'"

Production on the fourth season will start May 6, with the first of the season’s 16 episodes to debut in October.

“Despite the turnover, fervor for the zombie drama has not died down,” the Times report notes. “Its midseason finale in December brought in more than 10.5 million viewers. And its return earlier this month brought in 12.3 million viewers.”

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Video: Jimmy Kimmel and the 'Duck Dynasty' Gang Fire Back at Morrissey Over 'Animal Serial Killer' Snub

Jimmy Kimmel fired back at singer Morrissey, who refused to come on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" this week in a protest over the talk show's other guests, the stars of the reality series "Duck Dynasty," reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

As previously reported, Morrissey said his reputation couldn't "take the risk of being on a show alongside people who, in effect, amount to animal serial killers." A&E's "Duck Dynasty" features a family that makes duck calls and other gear for hunters.

Kimmel responded on Tueday's show, joking that Morrissey “keeps finding new ways to depress us” and telling the singer he should make his "dumb statements" on the show. He also ran a mock video that featured the "Duck Dynasty" cast advertising gadgets aimed at vegans, the story adds.

Here’s the clip from Kimmel’s show:

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No. 2 Court Show May Lose Its Judge in Contract Beef

The second-highest-rated syndicated court show may have to replace its star because of a hassle over the judge’s salary. B&C reports that talks between CBS Television Distribution and Joe Brown, the star of “Judge Joe Brown,” remain unresolved, even with the high-rated series renewed on stations through the 2014-15 season.

“In the face of declining ratings, license fees and advertising revenues, CTD has told Brown that his salary -- which once was reported to be as high as $20 million annually -- will be significantly cut,” the story reports. “Brown hasn't re-upped to do the show under the new terms for next fall, and is shopping it to other distributors, according to sources.”

CTD has reportedly been talking to stations about placing a different judge in the chair after the show’s current season raps production next month. “Some syndicators noted that they've been getting calls from members of Brown's crew, looking for new jobs,” the piece adds.

“Among the distributors that Brown is considering is Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios, with whom sources say Brown is in ‘advanced conversations to produce new episodes of the show for fall,’" B&C reports. “Entertainment Studios declined to comment. Brown could not be reached at press time via calls to ‘Judge Joe Brown's’ production office at Sunset-Bronson Studios.

The report adds: “Whether station groups will be willing to keep the show on the air with another judge in Brown's place hasn't been decided yet, but some station executives who requested anonymity told B&C they were less than happy to be learning about this situation at the end of February when their options for replacing the show are limited.”

Brown may benefit from re-upping with CTD, even at a reduced salary, the piece notes.

“Several syndication stars have had to take salary cuts in recent years in the face of a fragmented daytime TV environment, and even ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ faced license-fee cuts by the time it went off the air in 2011,” B&C reports. “In many markets, ‘Judge Joe Brown’ is paired with CTD's ‘Judge Judy,’ by far syndication's number-one court show. ‘Judy’ still brings in massive ratings, recently surpassing an 8.0, and often ranks as daytime's highest-rated show. When ‘Joe’ -- or any court show -- is paired with ‘Judy,’ it typically gets a ratings bump.”

Numbers for “Judge Joe Brown” have been slipping for a few years, part of a general trend among syndicated programs, the report notes.

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