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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
8:41 am
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CBS Cuts Episode Order for Long-Running Procedural for the First Time (TVLine)

CBS has reduced the episode order for a police procedural that has been a staple on the network. Writing on TVLine.com, Michael Ausiello reports that the network cut the order for “CSI” to 18 episodes, down from 22.

The show is in its 15th season, and this is the first time the drama will have produced less than a full season of episodes, the story notes.

“I’m told the decision was more about inventory than ratings,” Ausiello writes. “In addition to spinoff ‘CSI: Cyber,’ which is slated to assume ‘CSI’s’ Sunday-at-10 perch later this season, CBS also has Vince Gilligan’s ‘Battle Creek’ and a seventh season of ‘The Mentalist’ waiting in the wings.”

He adds, “‘CSI’s’ move to Sundays at 10/9c has produced decent results: Although the show is down double-digits from its Season 14 average (when it aired Wednesdays at 10), it’s maintaining the time period’s year-ago average in viewers and adults 18-49.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
8:33 am
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Old TV Episodes Discovered Starring Monty Python Members (Radio Times)

Episodes from an old comedy series that have been missing for decades have been found that star John Cleese and Graham Chapman, who went on to become famous as members of the Monty Python comedy troupe.

Radio Times reports that the two episodes of “At Last the 1948 Show,” a sketch comedy series from the 1960s that was a forerunner of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” were discovered in the archives of the late Sir David Frost.

The British Film Institute announced the discovery and said the episodes will air for the first time since 1967.

“The discovery is being dubbed a major find for fans of the early flowering of surreal British television comedy, which led to the creation of the Monty Python programs two years after the series aired. ‘At Last the 1948 Show’ is famous for containing the first use of the phrase ‘And now for something completely different’ which became a Python catchphrase and for showcasing the first outing of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch,” the story reports.

The episodes are on two reels of 16mm film and hadn’t been seen since they originally aired in 1967. Of the show’s 13 episodes, more than nine episodes of material is now held by the British Film Institute, including the two newly discovered episodes, the report notes.

Dick Fiddy, the British Film Institute’s television consultant, said: “This latest recovery is a crucial find. It represents a key moment in the history of British television comedy featuring the combined talents of some of its greatest exponents. These gifted comedians, all in their 20s and 30s, were let off the leash and allowed to experiment with style and content, resulting in shows which have had an enduring influence on comedy worldwide.”

Here’s an example of “At Last the 1948 Show” — not from the newly discovered episodes:

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
8:21 am
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Aaron Sorkin Reveals Which A-List Actor Will Play Steve Jobs in His Movie Adaptation of the Walter Isaacson Bestseller About the Late Apple CEO (Bloomberg)

A top Hollywood actor will tackle the role of Steve Jobs in Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming biopic about the late CEO of Apple. Bloomberg reports that the job went to Christian Bale, with Sorkin noting that Bale didn’t have to audition for the part.

Said Sorkin, who’s writing the adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s 2011 bio “Steve Jobs”: “We needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range and that’s Chris Bale.”

Asked by Bloomberg’s Emily Chang about Bale’s audition, Sorkin said: “He didn’t have to audition. Well, there was a meeting.”

Sorkin added: “He has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined. There isn’t a scene or a frame that he’s not in. … So it’s an extremely difficult part and he’s gonna crush it.”

Sorkin, who won an Oscar for his script for “The Social Network,” noted that filming is set to begin in the next couple of months.

Here’s a clip from Chang’s interview with Sorkin:

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
8:17 am
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After Taking Heat for Violating Ebola Quarantine, Dr. Nancy Snyderman Is Headed Back to NBC News (TVNewser, Washington Post)

NBC News said chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman will return to the network next month, with the decision coming after she came under fire for violating a 21-day Ebola quarantine period, reports TVNewser.

In an email, NBC News President Deborah Turness wrote, “I am very pleased to share that, as of tonight, the 21-day quarantine period of Dr. Nancy Snyderman and the team will be over, which means they have cleared the range of time when Ebola symptoms typically appear (the range can be between 2-21 days after exposure but the average time symptoms appear is between 8-10 days). They remain healthy and symptom-free, which is a great relief to all.”

While reporting in Liberia, Snyderman’s cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo, contracted Ebola, although he has since recovered.

The Washington Post notes, “The memo is newsworthy because Snyderman was spotted this month straying from her voluntary quarantine and waiting for an acquaintance to grab some takeout food from a restaurant in Princeton, N.J., where she resides. Following the revelations, first published in Planet Princeton, the quarantine became mandatory for the crew members.”

The quarantine violation raised questions about how the network would deal with Snyderman once the quarantine had ended, the Post adds.

Turness wrote earlier: “We have encouraged them — and they have agreed — to take some time off with their families and friends to help restore some normalcy to their lives. We very much look forward to their return next month.”

dr. nancy snyderman-nbc

Dr. Nancy Snyderman

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
8:11 am
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Viewers Loved It in the 1960s and Now NBC Has Outbid Its Rivals for an Updated Version of Classic Sitcom (Deadline)

NBC is readying a new version of a comedy series that was a TV staple in the 1960s. Deadline.com reports that the Peacock Network secured the rights to a new take on “Bewitched” in what the article calls a “very competitive situation.”

The network has made a pilot production commitment to the project, the report notes.

The comedy is written by “The Vow” writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, and received interest from multiple networks, ending in a bidding war between NBC and ABC. The latter network aired the original comedy, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, from 1964-1972, the piece notes.

“Coming on the 50th anniversary of ‘Bewitched’s’ debut, the new version is a reimagining of the original series two generations later. It centers on Daphne — Samantha’s granddaughter and Tabitha’s daughter — a single twentysomething witch who has always used her magical powers to conjure herself the perfect life. But she soon realizes that the one thing she cannot conjure and control is the one thing she wants most — real love.”

“Bewitched” led to an earlier spinoff, when Samantha’s daughter, Tabitha, had her own series in 1977 on ABC. That short-lived spinoff starred Lisa Hartman as an adult Tabitha.

The original series has remained popular with TV fans, enjoying a long life in syndication around the world, the piece notes. It’s also available on Hulu.

The article adds: “‘Bewitched’ is part of the wave of classic series and movies that are getting series treatment this development season as the networks are relying heavily on well-known properties, in part because of the dearth of available seasoned creators, many of whom are tied to existing shows.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
8:07 am
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Cause of Death Revealed for ‘Modern Family’ Actress (People)

The cause of death for actress Elizabeth Pena has been released. Pena, a film and television veteran who had a recurring role on the ABC comedy series “Modern Family,” died Oct. 14 at 55, as previously reported.

People reports that Pena died of complications relating to alcohol abuse, with the Los Angeles County Coroner citing cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol, as well as cardiopulmonary arrest, cardiogenic shock and acute gastrointestinal bleeding on her death certificate.

Her manager said last week that she died of natural causes after a brief illness.

She recently played Sofia Vergara’s mother, Pilar, on “Modern Family,” and also starred in movies including “La Bamba” and “Lone Star.”

elizabeth pena

Elizabeth Pena

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
8:01 am
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New Pilot Ordered After Showtime Finds Replacement for the Late Philip Seymour Hoffman (THR)

Showtime has found an actor to replace the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in its comedy project “Happyish,” tapping Oscar nominee Steve Coogan to fill the role, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

The pay-cable channel ordered a new pilot with Coogan, following the death earlier this year of Hoffman, who suffered an apparent drug overdose, the story reports. While the network had originally picked up 10 episodes of “Happyish” with Hoffman, the project had only filmed the pilot at the time of Hoffman’s death.

After signing up Coogan, who has starred in “Philomena” and “Alan Partridge,” the project will go back to the pilot stage and start production in New York in December, the story notes. It’s not clear whether any of the original “Happyish” cast will return.

The original cast included Rhys Ifans as the main character’s boss and mentor, while Kathryn Hahn starred as the character’s wife.

steve coogan

Steve Coogan

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
7:47 am
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Fox’s New ‘Frankenstein’ Project Has a ‘Homeland’ Connection (Deadline)

Fox is developing a project involving the venerable movie monster Frankenstein, and it has a connection to Showtime’s “Homeland.” Deadline.com reports that the new drama, titled “Frankenstein,” comes from “Homeland” executive producer Howard Gordon and “Life” creator Rand Ravich.

Based on the classic novel from Mary Shelley, the project is about a corrupt FBI agent named Adam Tremble who is given a second chance when he’s brought back to life in a younger, stronger form. He’s torn between his new chance to right his life and his old temptations, while also dealing with his relationships with his creators, a tech billionaire and his twin sister, a scientist.

boris karloff as frankenstein

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
7:39 am
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ABC News Mainstay Set to Return After Rehab (NY Daily News)

An ABC News regular is ready to return to work after a stint in rehab. The New York Daily News reports that Elizabeth Vargas tweeted about coming back.

Vargas tweeted: “So many thx to everyone for your support! It means so much. I am back to work next week, so happy to come back!”

She hasn’t yet been in the office this week, but will anchor “20/20” next Friday, the story notes. Vargas checked into rehab in August while she was on vacation in California, which followed a stint in rehab last year.

She’s in the middle of getting a divorce from singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, the piece adds.

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Elizabeth Vargas

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 23, 2014
7:21 am
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Mega-Yacht Reality Show Gets a Third Season (TheWrap)

A mega-yacht reality show is afloat for a third season. TheWrap.com reports that the series “Below Deck” received a renewal from Bravo after the season-two finale set a ratings high for the show.

The episode drew 1.4 million viewers, with 710,000 in the 18-49 demographic, the story reports.

In addition to ordering a third season, Bravo said it will air two specials focused on the show: “The Crew Tells All,” set for Oct. 28, which will feature lost footage of the cast from season one; and a reunion special, which will air Nov. 4.

The series tracks the lives of crew members working on a yacht.

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