Sep 22, 2014
12:55 am

Whoa! Game Changer: Scheduling Guru Preston Beckman – Who Has Done Terrific Work For NBC and Fox in Years Past – Says ‘The eventual demise of a fall season is going to happen’ (NY Times)

Just as the ascendancy of cable programming was inevitable, so is the eventual demise of the traditional fall season, loaded with its premieres of new shows and new seasons, particularly from the broadcast networks.

That seems to be the conclusion of a piece in The New York Times by Bill Carter and Emily Steel that carries two headlines: online the headline is “Fall TV Season Has Buzz, But It’s Growing Softer”; in Monday’s print edition the headline reads “It’s Muted, but Buzz for Fall TV Returns.”

Preston Beckman, who has been the chief primetime scheduler for both NBC and Fox – and is currently a programming advisor to Fox – makes the following argument, the Times says, “that in spite of all the factors battering the tradition of the network premiere week, it retains value, mainly for the attention it still brings to a business that needs all the attention it can get.”

But then, in the last line of the article, the Times notes that even the bullish Beckman has his doubts about the long-term viability of a traditional broadcast premiere week in the fall: “‘It’s not always going to be this way,’ he said, ‘The eventual demise of a fall season is going to happen gradually, but it will still take a long time before it finally happens.’ “

Here’s another point the article makes: “As the networks vie with one another, they are increasingly finding that they no longer have the fall season spotlight to themselves, even in premiere week. The rest of the business used to back off until after the network program stampede. But this year, for example, the FX cable channel is running the final season of its drama ‘Sons of Anarchy’ right in middle of the network fall debuts, and scoring impressive ratings. Last season, AMC ran the finale of ‘Breaking Bad’ on the first Sunday of the network season.”

To read more about the fall TV season, this year and in the future, please click on our link above that will take you to Carter and Steel’s original article.

gotham foxOne of this season’s highly anticipated fall debuts: “Gotham” on Fox

Sep 22, 2014
12:55 am

BET Star To Contact FBI About The Latest Nude Celebrity Photo Breach Over the Weekend (TMZ)

The star of a BET series will be “contacting the FBI” after some topless photos of her that were leaked onto the Internet, reports TMZ.

The story continues, saying that Gabrielle Union, the star of BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” and her husband, basketball star Dwayne Wade released a statement saying, “it has come to our attention that our private moments, that were shared and deleted solely between my husband and myself, have been leaked by some vultures.”

Union added, “I can’t help but to be reminded that since the dawn of time women and children, specifically women of color, have been victimized, and the power over their own bodies taken from them. These atrocities against women and children continue worldwide.”

The TMZ story adds that other celebrities whose nude photos appear to be stolen over the weekend include Jenny McCarthy, Emily Ratajkowski, Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell.

Sep 21, 2014
3:44 pm

Golden Globe-Winner – and Hollywood Heartthrob — Confirms Starring Role in Season Two of HBO’s Acclaimed ‘True Detective’ (Irish Mirror, Sunday World)

A popular Golden Globe-winning actor says he will star in season two of HBO’s critically-acclaimed limited series “True Detective.”

“Hollywood heartthrob Colin Farrell has revealed that he has landed a leading role in the second [season] of ‘True Detective,’” reports the Irish Mirror.

The report continues, “The star is reportedly set to play Ray Velcoro, who has been damaged by years of trauma in both his personal and professional lives.

The original report is in Ireland’s Sunday World newspaper, which is behind a pay-wall.  Irish actor confirmed, “I’m doing the second series.  I’m so excited,” the Mirror says.

Farrell also told the World, “ ‘I know it will be eight episodes and take around four or five months to shoot.’ The 38-year-old added that he knew very little about what to expect but said that the new series will be shot ‘in the environs of LA.’”

The Sunday World added, says the Mirror, that “Rachel McAdams and ‘Mad Men’s’ Elisabeth Moss fighting it out for the same part. The pair are both believed to be in contention for the role of a ‘no nonsense’ hard drinking Californian sheriff. Funny man Vince Vaughn is also reportedly vying for a role hit show.”

Farrell won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in the 2008 theatrical feature “In Bruges.”

Season one of “True Detective” starred Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. It ran for eight episodes, was nominated for seven Emmys and won four.

Colin Farrell In BurgesColin Farrell in his Golden Globe-winning role in “In Bruges”






Sep 20, 2014
3:44 pm

Emmy-Winning Actress and Singer — Best Known To Baby-Boomers For Her Long Run as a Panelist on ‘To Tell the Truth’ – Polly Bergen Dies at 84 (Variety; LA Times; YouTube)

Polly Bergen, who won an Emmy for “Playhouse 90” and who was Tony-nominated for the 2001 Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim/James Goldman musical “Follies,” has died at age 84.

Bergen played in many theatrical movies and TV shows, and was a popular Columbia recording artist in the 1950s.

Baby boomers will most likely best remember Bergen as a panelist from the popular quiz show “To Tell the Truth,” which premiered in 1956. The show was on CBS’ prime-time schedule until 1967, and Bergen was a regular panelist from the show’s debut through the 1961 season, according to Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh’s “The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows.”


Bergen “died at her home in Connecticut [today] Saturday, [Sept. 20, 2014]” according to Variety. The story adds that Bergen, who was then a life-long smoker, “had battled emphysema in the late 1990s.”

The story continues, “Bergen won an Emmy in 1958 for her role as Helen Morgan on the 1950s anthology series ‘Playhouse 90.’ She was a regular in TV movies and miniseries in the 1980s, most notably in the 1983 epic ‘The Winds of War’ and its 1988 sequel, ‘War and Remembrance,’ which earned her an Emmy nom for best supporting actress. She was also the star of her own short-lived NBC variety series, ‘The Polly Bergen Show,’ which ran from 1957 to 1958.”

The Variety obituary adds, “Most recently, she played Felicity Huffman’s mother on ‘Desperate Housewives’ and the mistress of Tony Soprano’s late father on ‘The Sopranos.’ ”

On the big screen Bergen is remembered for her roles in “Kisses for My President,” “Cape Fear,” and “Move Over Darling,” among many others.

Bergen also had a cosmetics and beauty line. “She sold the company in 1973 to Faberge, staying on for a couple of years afterward to run it as a Faberge subsidiary,” according to the Bergen obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

The Times story also says, “In 1982 she married entrepreneur Jeff Endervelt. She co-signed his loans and gave him millions to invest from her beauty company profits. She said in a 2001 New York Times interview: ‘He would come home and say, “Honey, sign this.” I wouldn’t even look at it. Because you trust your husband.’

“The stock market crash of the 1980s wiped out the investments. She divorced him in 1991, and she said he left her with so many debts that she had to sell her New York apartment and other belongings to avoid bankruptcy.”

To read more details about the life of Polly Bergen, please click on our links above that will take you to the original stories Variety and the Los Angeles Times.

Here’s Bergen singing “By Myself,” a torch song by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz from their 1937 show “Between the Devil.” This is from Bergen’s 1958 Columbia album “All Alone By the Telephone” that we found on YouTube:

Sep 19, 2014
1:24 pm

AMC Making a Seven-Figure Ad Pitch for ‘Mad Men’ Finale (B&C)

If advertisers want to be a part of next year’s “Mad Men” finale on AMC, they’re going to have to pony up. B&C reports that the cable channel is making a seven-figure pitch to would-be buyers.

“The network has assembled a package of one of the 20 or so 30-second spots in the ‘Mad Men’ finale, the most upscale show on TV, plus a spot in ‘Walking Dead,’ the highest-rated series among adults 18 to 49, that it’s calling Brawn and Brains. The price tag is north of $1 million,” the story reports.

The final episode of “Mad Men” is due up in spring, and AMC opted not to sell it during the upfront.

“Since then a few dozen advertisers have asked the network to let them know when those spots go on sale. The network began notifying those advertisers late this week about the offer and expects replies by late next week,” the story reports.

For comparison, 30-second spots in last year’s “Breaking Bad” finale on AMC were sold in the scatter market for $300,000 to $400,000, the report notes.

Scott Collins, executive vice president of ad sales for AMC, said of the combination of “Mad Men” and “Walking Dead”: “This is a 100% pure premium package. Advertisers like to buy what they want and they don’t always like to be beholden to buy a bunch of other stuff in order to get what they really want.”

Collins added: “Both shows are in demand by very similar advertisers. They appreciate the big upscale nature of ‘Mad Men’ and they appreciate the large viewership of ‘Walking Dead.’”

mad men

Sep 19, 2014
1:23 pm

Institutional Corruption on Trial — or Not — in CNN’s ‘Whitey’ (TVWeek)

His name was once second on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, right after that of Osama bin Laden. But even with notorious gangster Whitey Bulger captured, convicted and behind bars for the rest of his life in a federal penitentiary, the families of those he killed are not convinced that justice was done.

A new documentary, “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger,” airing this week on CNN, examines the Bulger trial and attempts to make sense of a complicated case that put not only a lifelong gangster, but also the nation’s flawed law enforcement system, in the spotlight.

Please click here to read TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin’s interview with the film’s director, Joe Berlinger.

whitey bulger

Whitey Bulger

Sep 19, 2014
1:22 pm

Shonda Rhimes Takes to Twitter to Fire Back at New York Times Critic Who Called Her ‘an Angry Black Woman’ (NY Daily News, NY Times)

Shonda Rhimes has taken “umbrage with a New York Times article written about her by TV critic Alessandra Stanley,” reports the New York Daily News.

According to the News, “The piece, which was published Thursday [Sept. 18, 2014], begins with an eyebrow-raising lede: ‘When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.” ‘ ”

Stanley’s Times piece also identified Rhimes as the creator of the new ABC show “How to Get Away With Murder.” In fact the show was created by Peter Norwalk, a white man. Rhimes serves as one of the executive producers on the new series.

Rhimes responded to Stanley’s piece in a series of tweets:

“Confused why @nytimes critic doesn’t know identity of CREATOR of show she’s reviewing.”

The next tweet said, “Apparently we can be “angry black women” together, because I didn’t know I was one either! @petenowa #LearnSomethingNewEveryday.”

Rhimes then tweeted, “Final thing: (then I am gonna do some yoga): how come I am not “an angry black woman” the many times Meredith (or Addison!) rants? @nytimes… Wait. I’m “angry” AND a ROMANCE WRITER?!! I’m going to need to put down the internet and go dance this one out. Because ish is getting real.”

shonda rhimes

Shonda Rhimes

Sep 19, 2014
1:22 pm

‘Simpsons’ Producer Serves Up a Warning About an Upcoming Death on the Show (SPOILER ALERT) (LA Times)

“The Simpsons” is planning to kill off a character during the show’s 26th season, and executive producer Al Jean is warning the death will be permanent, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker.

“When we kill [a character], they stay dead,” Jean said in a conference call with reporters. The death will occur in the episode “Clown in the Dumps,” which will air Sept. 28.

The comment comes after the Fox animated show “Family Guy,” which airs in a block with “The Simpsons,” killed off Brian, the family dog, only to bring the character back a short time later, the piece notes.

“We gave [the episode] that title for a reason,” Jean said. “Some people have guessed it correctly and some people are really, really off.”

In the episode Krusty the Clown gets offended at a celebrity roast in his honor, and decides to retire from show business. It will feature the voices of Sarah Silverman, David Hyde Pierce and Jeff Ross.

Jean also mentioned that he has no idea how much longer the show will continue to run, although he added, “At least two more years.”

He continued, “Probably four, maybe more. Nobody has talked to us about wrapping it up.”

FOX's 'The Simpsons" - Season Tweny Four

Sep 19, 2014
12:01 pm

Wow. One of the Classiest Tribute Ads We’ve Seen, Saluting One of the Classiest Athletes Ever (YouTube)

Kudos to Gatorade for producing one of the best tribute spots we’ve seen. It’s a salute to Derek Jeter of the Yankees. Even if you’re not a Yankees fan we’d be surprised if you don’t like this tribute to a classy athlete.

Only posted a day ago, this video is already viral with about 2.5 million hits.

By the way, if you were a subscriber to our free Daily Viral Video e-newsletter you would have already received this video.

Here’s the video:

Sep 19, 2014
8:44 am

Veteran Broadcaster Pulls the Plug on His Television Show (NY Times)

A broadcaster and former White House press secretary who has been a fixture on television for more than 40 years is calling it quits — again. Writing in The New York Times, Elizabeth Jensen reports that Bill Moyers sent word to public television stations that he’s ending his weekly show “Moyers & Company” after its Jan. 2 episode.

Jensen writes: “He made a similar announcement last October, but changed his mind in the face of an outpouring of support from his fans on social media. This time, however, ‘it’s the real deal,’ he wrote in the Sept. 11 letter, which was first reported by the trade publication Current.”

Moyers wrote in an email, “A few months ago I began to hear what Shakespeare described as that ‘inaudible and noiseless foot of time’ that only you can identify as the stranger suddenly trotting beside you.”

He added that he plans “for the indefinite future” to keep up his website, where much of his public television programming since 1971 is available, the story adds.

Moyers served as White House press secretary under Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965-1967.

moyers & company-title-bill moyers

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