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TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
3:32 pm
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ABC News Announces New Prime-Time Series (TVWeek)

A new weekly prime-time series, premiering next month, was announced today by ABC News and People. The show, “People’s List,” is set for a limited summer run starting Saturday, June 11.

“The hour-long weekly program highlights the biggest stories in pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle, human interest and news features to bring viewers up to speed on what they may have missed,” the companies said in the announcement. “Plus, viewers will get an exclusive sneak peek at the top stories people will be talking about in the week ahead.”

Actor Jerry O’Connell and SuChin Pak, former MTV news correspondent, will host, and will be joined by a team of “all-star insiders” from ABC News and People.

“Each week, ‘People’s List’ breaks down the five people you should be talking about — from your favorite celebrities to social media stars to everyday people making the world a better place,” the announement says. “Additionally, the program will include People’s signature features, including Scoop, PeopleStyle, PeoplePets, The Jess Cagle Interview (a video series hosted by the editorial director of People and Entertainment Weekly); and new segments including Home 360, a look behind the hedges and gates of America’s most fabulous celebrity homes; and Then and Now, an update of the iconic personalities from People Magazine’s iconic covers. Plus, the very latest in pop culture, style and trends.”

Said Morgan Hertzan, senior vice president, ABC News, and executive in charge of ABC’s Lincoln Square Productions: “People takes us inside the most famous and fascinating lives in the world. From mega-stars to real people facing incredible circumstances, People has been a trusted friend for the biggest events in pop culture history.”

“People’s List” is produced by ABC’S Lincoln Square Productions. Danielle Rossen is the executive producer, and Marc Victor is co-executive producer for Lincoln Square Productions; Rich Battista and Jess Cagle are executive producers for People.

abc news

TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
3:21 pm
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Whoopi Goldberg’s New TV Series May Surprise You (TVWeek)

Whoopi Goldberg, who is best known to TV audiences for her long run as moderator of “The View,” has a new TV project in the works — a series about transgender models.

The series, “Strut,” has received the green light from Oxygen Media, with Goldberg set to executive produce.

Rod Aissa, Executive Vice President of Original Programming and Development for Oxygen Media, announced plans for the show, which comes from 44 Blue Productions.

“‘Strut’ follows a group of inspiring and resilient trailblazers who are working to change the modeling industry and the world around them, by simply being true to themselves,” Aissa said in the announcement. “These individuals will empower viewers as they live their lives fully and unapologetically, despite facing many obstacles throughout their journey.”

Slay Model Management, the world’s first exclusively transgender modeling agency, will also be a part of the series, which is set to premiere later this year.

Said Goldberg: “This show is important right now, because for all of the positive advances the community has made and continues to make, transgender is still a hot-button word that gets people hysterical. People tend to focus on the stereotype instead of the person, and this series will give viewers a unique opportunity to spend time with real people who are struggling with the same challenges we all face as we make our way through the world.”

“Strut” is produced by One Hoe Productions and 44 Blue Productions. Goldberg and Tom Leonardis (One Hoe Productions) along with Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch and Bobby Sizemore (44 Blue Productions) will serve as executive producers.

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TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
2:41 pm
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John Belushi TV Project in the Works (TVWeek, Showtime)

A new TV project about the legendary comedian John Belushi is in the works. The feature-length documentary was announced today by Showtime.

The project comes from filmmakers R.J. Cutler (“The September Issue,” “The World According to Dick Cheney”) and John Battsek (“Searching for Sugar Man,” “The Tillman Story”), who previously teamed for the Peabody Award-winning documentary “Listen to Me Marlon.”

Belushi’s widow, Judith Belushi Pisano, is involved in the production, and provided the photo below of Belushi from her private collection.

The project, directed by Cutler and produced by Battsek, is set to begin production in the fall, with longtime Belushi collaborator Sean Daniel on board as executive producer along with Bill Couturie. Cutler will also produce. The documentary will be produced in association with Sky Atlantic.

Said Judith Belushi: “John Battsek and I have been discussing the possibility of making this film for over a decade. I’m thrilled to finally embark upon that journey together with him and director R.J. Cutler. Passion Pictures is poised to make the definitive documentary on John Belushi — a man who not only had a profound effect on the comedy landscape of America, but also made an indelible mark on the social fabric of his time, which continues to reverberate today.”

john belushi-showtimeJohn Belushi (Showtime; Judith Belushi Pisano collection)

TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
2:31 pm
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The Most Social Hit Ever on Late-Night TV Goes International (TVWeek, CBS)

A viral video sensation that’s being called the most social hit ever on U.S. late-night television is being marketed internationally. CBS Studios International announced today that it is making “Carpool Karaoke” available as an international format.

The segment was spawned by CBS’s “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” and has had almost 600 million views on YouTube since it started one year ago.

CBS Studios International and Fulwell 73 are joining forces to bring it to international broadcasters in 30-minute and 60-minute episodes. In each installment the host of the show picks up a singer or other celebrity for a ride in a specially rigged Carpool Karaoke car.

“The show has quickly become known for attracting the world’s biggest stars including Adele and Justin Bieber, whose ‘Carpool Karaoke’ segments are currently the #1 and #2 most watched Late Night clips on YouTube, along with Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, Gwen Stefani, Elton John and One Direction,” the announcement says.

It adds: “For broadcasters, the ‘Carpool Karaoke’ format creates a more intimate environment for interviews and at the same time gives an audience their favorite music of all time. A combination of music, comedy and documentary makes ‘Carpool Karaoke’ one of the world’s most talked about shows.”

Said Ben Winston, executive producer of “The Late Late Show” and co-director of production company Fulwell 73: “This is a very exciting format, one which gets the best interviews, and fun, out of every guest that appears, due to its most intimate setting.”

TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
11:57 am
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‘Stabbed in the Back’? Co-Host Exits Daytime Talk Show (E! News, Instagram)

A fixture on a daytime talk show is headed out the door after leaving a message about being “stabbed in the back.” E! News reports that Tamar Braxton, who has been a co-host on Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution’s “The Real” since it debuted in 2013, won’t be back with the show.

“She and a show rep revealed the news Sunday, saying the decision was mutual, a day after the TV personality and singer posted a cryptic message about being ‘stabbed in the back’ on Instagram,” the story reports.

The show, currently in its second season, has been co-hosted from the outset by Braxton along with Tamera Mowry-Housley, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Adrienne Bailon.

In a statement provided to E! News, Braxton and a rep for the show said: “‘The Real’ and Tamar Braxton have mutually decided that Tamar will not be continuing with the show for its upcoming third season. She will be leaving in order to concentrate on her solo career. Everyone associated with ‘The Real’ appreciates Tamar’s efforts and the contributions she has made to the show’s success, and we wish her all the best for the future.”

Braxton also appears, along with her family members, on the WE tv reality show “Braxton Family Values.”

The message she posted Saturday on Instagram reads: “I love u all but I have been stabbed in the back by someone I stupidly trusted ( not my man or my sisters) I am not about to be tried and tested to snitch … and it’s not in good taste to tell you who…… but as #tamartians you are very smart and can figure things out on your own. But know that every one who smiles in your face is NOT your friend and is NOT cheering for you and will LIE and try and tear u down to TRY and dim your light. Thank GOD HE HOLDS MY FUTURE AND MY HAND! (Remember who u are)….I am Tamar Braxton. And if you thought for 1 sec u played me…..In the late great prince and the amazing Beyoncé voice you PLAYED yourself to God be the Glory and I will be taking a short break from ALL social media…until then [heart] yourself and WATCH YOUR BACK ( I put this picture up cause this is the embrace I got from my sister and best friend that she ALWAYS gives when she knows I’ve been had)”

Here’s the photo Braxton posted along with the message …

tamar braxton instagram photo 052116

TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
11:49 am
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Broadcast Network Switches Stations in One of the Nation’s Largest Markets (TVWeek)

A broadcast network will have a new station affiliate starting this fall in the country’s third-largest television market. The move under way in Chicago involves the broadcast net the CW, which is shifting to Fox-owned WPWR-TV, Channel 50.

The CW has been airing in Chicago on Tribune Media’s WGN-TV, Channel 9, but the affiliation agreement was not renewed. WGN will become an independent station in September 2016.

The news came as the CW Network and Tribune Media announced that they had reached new long-term affiliation agreements for all of the other 12 Tribune stations carrying the CW. The extensions cover 28 million TV households across 25% of the country.

The CW launched in 2006 as a joint venture of CBS and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

In making the announcement, the companies noted that WGN will feature local news, live sports and syndicated programming during prime time after it becomes an independent.

The stations extending affiliation agreements with the CW are WPIX-TV in New York, KTLA in Los Angeles, KDAF in Dallas, WDCW in Washington, KIAH in Houston, WSFL-TV in Miami, KWGN-TV in Denver, KPLR-TV in St. Louis, KRCW-TV in Portland, WCCT-TV in Hartford, WGNT in Norfolk and WNOL-TV in New Orleans.

Peter Liguori, Tribune Media president and CEO, commented in the announcement: “The prime-time entertainment programming offered by the CW drives a passionate and loyal audience to our stations and we are looking forward to a lot of success.”

Added CW Network President Mark Pedowitz: “As the CW continues to build on its current ratings momentum and full schedule of high-quality programming, we are thrilled to continue our successful partnership with Tribune and their affiliated stations for many years to come.”

wgn chicago

TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
11:27 am
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Prince Tribute Sparks Outrage, Controversy (The Telegraph, The Atlantic, TVWeek)

A high-profile tribute to Prince that was supposed to be the climactic moment of Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards left many Prince fans with a bad taste in their mouths.

At the center of the controversy and outrage is Madonna, who sang Prince’s “Nothing Compares to You” and recruited Stevie Wonder to join her onstage for a chorus of “Purple Rain.” A number of Prince fans were offended by the choice of Madonna to perform the tribute, presumably because Madonna and Prince for decades carried on an on-again, off-again feud after they reportedly dated briefly in the 1980s.

Other observers were just turned off by Madonna’s performance. The U.K. publication The Telegraph declared that Madonna picked the wrong Prince song to try to cover.

“Whatever emotion Madonna was attempting to convey wasn’t making it out of her mouth in the way she intended,” The Telegraph reported. “Hauling Stevie Wonder onstage for a closing chorus of Purple Rain went some way to repairing the damage that had been meted out to Prince’s memory but this was another night in Madonna’s gradual evolution into Your Mum’s Cringey Friend Who Doesn’t Know When She’s Embarrassing Herself.”

The Atlantic, which called the ceremony “the most soul-crushingly cynical of the soul-crushingly cynical music-awards shows,” called Madonna’s performance a “pitchy but pious rendition” and added: “The performance was, at its most basic level, a tribute to Prince, but like so much of the evening it felt like a statement of futility: Something’s gone forever, and the only, imperfect thing to do is sing about it.” (Click on the link to The Atlantic to see a video of the performance.)

billboard music awards-logo

TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
10:29 am
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Why Some Former ‘Biggest Loser’ Contestants Are Demanding That NBC Cancel the Series (NY Post, Obesity)

Former contestants on the NBC extreme-dieting series “The Biggest Loser,” which has been on the air for 17 seasons, are calling for the network to take the show off the air, The New York Post reports.

The group, which consists of about 10 or 15 former contestants, is reportedly considering a class-action suit against the show, alleging that the experiences they went through on the show caused permanent damage to their health.

The report quotes Suzanne Mendonca, who was a contestant on season two, saying: “The show needs to be done, canceled, destroyed. They look at us like we’re failures today, but we were not going to succeed. They threw us away like yesterday’s garbage.

The Post reported separately that the show’s staffers pushed illegal diet pills and encouraged contestants to starve themselves. The report followed publication of a study in the journal Obesity documenting “persistent metabolic adaptation” among former “Biggest Loser” contestants.

“The study suggested contestants often regain lost weight because their metabolic rates were permanently damaged after being on the show,” the Post reports.

Said Kai Hibbard, who was on season three of the series: “The show should’ve been canceled 10 years ago. … To continue this body-shaming physically and psychologically damaging monstrosity with future contestants in light of this current study and others is irresponsible and unconscionable.”

biggest loser-logo

TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
10:01 am
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Will an ABC Series That Went Off the Air in 2013 Be Coming Back? (THR)

A possible comeback for an ABC show that was canceled in 2013 was all the talk at a reunion held for the show, the comedy series “Happy Endings.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the cast and producers appear to be on board, with some of them going so far as to pitch a fourth season to Hulu. The streaming service not only runs repeats of the series, but also sponsored the reunion, held over the weekend at Vulture Festival in New York.

The show’s creator, David Caspe, “admitted that they don’t want ‘to do six episodes shot on an iPhone,’ but ‘if someone would actually let us do it the real way, then everyone would want to do it,’” THR reports.

Executive producer Jonathan Groff and cast members Damon Wayans, Zachary Knighton and Adam Pally, were all among those participating in the chat session, and all indicated they’d be up for a fourth season.

happy endings

TVBIZWIRE
May 23, 2016
9:57 am
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Murder Trial Getting Under Way for ‘The Shield’ Actor (AP)

An actor who was one of the stars of the FX drama “The Shield” faces 50 years to life in prison as his murder trial gets under way this week in Los Angeles, the AP reports.

Michael Jace, who played Officer Julien Lowe throughout the seven-season run of the Emmy-winning series, is being tried for the 2014 shooting death of his wife, April Jace, at their home in the Hyde Park section of Los Angeles.

Michael Jace “turned himself in to police immediately after the shooting and has been behind bars ever since,” the AP reports. “Few details about the slaying have been released, although a prosecutor has said the actor shot April Jace in the back and then shot her again while their young children looked on.”

The report adds: “Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry has said jurors will be told April Jace was having an affair, but that limited details would be discussed during the weeklong trial.”

the shield-michael jace-fx

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