Sep 30, 2014
2:12 pm

Theaters Not Pleased With Groundbreaking ‘Crouching Tiger’ Model: Top Chains Say They Will Boycott the Sequel (Variety)

An innovative arrangement for distribution of the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” did not sit well with theater owners. Variety reports that three of the nation’s top four theater chains have indicated they will boycott the release.

As we reported earlier, the sequel, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend,” is set to have a simultaneous release on Netflix and in Imax theaters. The Weinstein Co., Imax and Netflix worked out arrangements for the groundbreaking distribution model.

“It’s a revolutionary move, but the three partners may have trouble securing screens in the United States for the sequel to the martial-arts epic,” Variety reports. “Three of the country’s four largest theater chains, Cinemark, Carmike and Regal, tell Variety that they are refusing to screen any so-called day-and-date releases in their Imax theaters. They are joined by Cineplex, Canada’s largest chain, and Cineworld, Europe’s second-largest network of theaters, which are also refusing to show the second ‘Crouching Tiger’ if it premieres on Netflix at the same time it hits multiplexes.”

Regal spokesman Russ Nunley said his company wants to ensure movies are seen “on a grand scale.”

Said Nunley: “While a home video release may be simultaneously performing in certain Imax locations, at Regal we will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to 3-inch wide on a smart phone. We believe the choice for truly enjoying a magnificent movie is clear.”

Representatives for the other theater chains offered similar statements, with James Meredith of Cinemark putting it succinctly: “Cinemark does not play day-and-date movie releases on any of our screens including the Imax screens that we operate.”

The report notes that with the three big U.S. chains out of the picture, 115 of Imax’s 418 screens in the U.S. would be off-limits to the “Crouching Tiger” sequel.

Variety adds: “Theater owners have fiercely resisted efforts by studios and distributors to shorten the window between a film’s theatrical release and its debut on home-entertainment platforms from the standard 90 days, especially for titles from major studios and wide releases. In 2011, Universal was forced to cancel a plan to release ‘Tower Heist’ on cable VOD for $60 three weeks after hitting theaters after several exhibitors said they wouldn’t show the film.”


Sep 30, 2014
2:11 pm

Will the Entertainment Business Find a Way Forward? Top Industry Players Weigh In (TVWeek)

The future of the entertainment industry took center stage when some of the top players in the business came together recently for the first Hollywood Radio and Television Society newsmaker luncheon of the season. Top execs who weighed in included John Landgraf, Chris Silbermann, Kathy Savitt, Gail Berman and Kevin Beggs.

How do they see the future of the industry taking shape? TVWeek Open Mic blogger Hillary Atkin was on hand and filed a report, which you can read by clicking here.

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Sep 30, 2014
2:11 pm

Blockbuster Film Franchise to Become TV Series (Deadline)

A film series that has been huge at the box office is being turned into a television series. reports that the “Rush Hour” movies are in the works as a one-hour action comedy from Warner Bros. TV.

On tap to co-write and executive produce is Bill Lawrence, one of WBTV’s top showrunners, the report notes. Also lined up as exec producers are the film franchise’s director Brett Ratner and producer Arthur Sarkissian.

“Written by ‘Cougar Town’ co-creator Lawrence and the series’ executive producer/showrunner Blake McCormick, ‘Rush Hour’ is expected to stay close to the premiere of the original movie, with a stoic, by-the-book Hong Kong police officer, played in the features by Jackie Chan, assigned to a case in Los Angeles, where he’s forced to work with a cocky black LAPD officer, originally played by Chris Tucker, who has no interest in a partner,” the article notes.

The three-movie franchise, which launched in 1998, has grossed better than $500 million in the U.S., topping $845 million worldwide, the report adds.

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Sep 30, 2014
2:01 pm

Fox News Channel Claims a Cable Ratings Milestone (THR)

With the battle for ratings supremacy in the cable news space hardly a battle anymore, Fox News appears ready to take on all of cable. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that FNC ended the summer quarter as the most-watched cable channel in prime time — topping even cable powerhouses such as USA and ESPN.

It was the first time in more than a decade that FNC completed a quarter at No. 1 in cable.

“The average 1.79 million viewers between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, gave FNC its first quarter atop the dial since the Iraq War broke out in 2003,” THR reports. “Expanding that block by an hour, which includes Greta Van Susteren at 7 p.m., FNC was the most watched in prime time for the first time ever. And in the targeted demographic of adults 25-54, FNC was up 12 percent from the same period a year ago, with an average 313,000 viewers.”

Here are the prime-time averages for the third quarter for the four main cable news channels, compared with a year ago:

Total viewers:

FNC: 1,797,000 viewers, up 12%

MSNBC: 557,000 viewers, down 2%

CNN: 555,000 viewers, up 2%

HLN: 352,000 viewers, down 4%

Sep 30, 2014
2:00 pm

‘Big Bang Theory’ Actress Developing Comedy for CBS (THR)

CBS has given a script commitment to a new comedy project from “The Big Bang Theory” co-star Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette on the CBS comedy, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

The project, which is also from Rauch’s husband, Winston Rauch, is called “If We’re Not Married by 30.” It follows a man who arrives to make good on a pre-teen promise made with his best friend, although the pair haven’t seen each other in more than 10 years.

The Rauches will co-executive produce the comedy, as well as co-write the project.

“The couple have worked as a writing team since 2005 and started on comedy stage show ‘The Miss Education of Jenna Bush,’ which won outstanding solo show at the New York International Fringe Festival,” the piece notes.

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Melissa Rauch

Sep 30, 2014
10:16 am

Two New Dramas Continue to Flex Ratings Muscle (TVbytheNumbers)

Two new broadcast series continued to show ratings strength in their second week, based on Nielsen overnights for Monday prime time in the key 18-49 demo. reports that both Fox’s “Gotham” and CBS’s “Scorpion” slipped a bit from their strong debuts a week ago, but the two shows — along with NBC’s “The Blacklist” — came in among the night’s top-rated broadcast dramas.

“The Blacklist” was part of NBC’s top-ranked lineup built mainly on its two-hour singing competition “The Voice,” which paced the network with a 3.9 average in 18-49 — equaling the number delivered by last week’s season premiere. Leading out from “The Voice,” “The Blacklist was off 18% from its premiere, slipping to a 2.8.

The top-rated show of the night in the 18-49 demo was CBS’s powerhouse comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” which led off prime time with a 4.7 average, dipping 13% from a week ago. A repeat of “Big Bang” followed with a 3.1.

“Scorpion” was off just 6% from its premiere number in 18-49, delivering a 3.0 to rank as the No. 1 drama of the night in broadcast prime. Leading out from it, CBS’s 10 p.m. season premiere of “NCIS: Los Angeles” managed only a 1.9, falling 37% from its season premiere a year ago and coming in below the 2.5 average for the season finale.

Fox continued to see promising results for “Gotham,” even as it dipped 13% from its premiere in viewers 18-49. The show’s second airing delivered a solid 2.8 average, while its leadout, “Sleepy Hollow,” slipped 15% from last week’s premiere to a 1.7.

ABC’s numbers were impacted by NFL pre-emptions in Kansas City and Boston and are subject to more than the usual adjustments. Preliminary figures show the season premiere of “Castle” with a 2.4 average in 18-49 at 10 p.m., up 9% from the previous season premiere.

ABC’s two-hour “Dancing with the Stars” fell 14% from last week’s season premiere to a 1.9 average in the 18-49 demo.

For prime time overall, NBC led the way in adults 18-49 with a 3.5 average, followed by CBS (2.9 average), Fox (2.3), ABC (2.1), Univision (1.1) and CW (0.3). CBS inched ahead in a close three-way battle for total viewers, averaging 12.3 million to ABC’s 12.2 million and NBC’s 12.0 million, followed by Fox (6.2 million), Univision (2.8 million) and CW (914,000).


Sep 30, 2014
9:47 am

Former White House Staffer Joins Political Show (THR)

An actor who is also a former White House staffer will be a part of a political show on Fusion. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kal Penn, who worked for a time in the Obama administration, will be a special correspondent for Fusion’s midterm election coverage.

Fusion is an ABC/Univision joint venture. Penn starred in Fox’s “House” and is known for the “Harold and Kumar” feature film trilogy.

Penn will contribute to Fusion’s “Midterm Mayhem: The Ultimate Political Smackdown,” the story reports. The show will air Sunday through Thursday at 9:30 p.m.

In a statement, Penn said: “It’s definitely possible to be entertaining while having conversations about things that actually matter in the democratic process. Our political debates generate a lot punchlines and crazy segments, and that’s fun, but we’re hoping to offer some smart, engaging, and entertaining reporting without obsessing over the lowest common denominator. We hope to inspire people to get off the sidelines, get engaged and wake up on election day and actually vote.”

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Kal Penn

Sep 30, 2014
9:23 am

NBC Working on a Crossover Involving Three Shows (TheWrap)

NBC has a crossover event in the works that will weave storylines among three prime-time shows. reports that the network is working on a crossover involving “Law & Order: SVU,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD.”

The storyline will focus on a child pornography ring, with the plot beginning on “Chicago Fire” on Nov. 11. The story will continue Nov. 12 on “Law & Order: SVU” and then move to “Chicago PD,” with those two shows airing back to back. All three shows are produced by Dick Wolf’s Wolf Films.

“Warren Leight (“SVU” showrunner) and Matt Olmstead (“Chicago Fire”/”Chicago PD” showrunner) are two of the best writers in the business,” Wolf said in a statement. “We wanted to figure out a way to create a crime that connects all three shows. Warren, Matt and I came up with a story that was big and unique enough to transit to all three.”

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Sep 30, 2014
9:21 am

Ed Sullivan Statue Stolen (TheWrap)

A statue of Ed Sullivan, one of the stalwarts of early television, that was on display outside the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences building in Los Angeles has been stolen, reports.

The 18-inch statue was part of an outdoor exhibit highlighting TV pioneers and significant contributors to the history of the medium. The Los Angeles Police Department has asked the public for help finding who was responsible for the theft.

“While no value has been attributed to the 20-pound statue, the LAPD nevertheless considers the crime grand theft. The statue was on display at the iconic building located at 5220 Lankershim Blvd,” the story reports.

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Ed Sullivan

Sep 30, 2014
9:19 am

Report: AMC Closing In on Stake in Cable Channel (Bloomberg)

AMC Networks is close to a deal to buy a major stake in a cable channel. Bloomberg reports that the deal would give AMC Networks almost half of BBC America for $200 million.

The report cites sources saying the deal would value the U.S. channel at more than $400 million. The sources spoke anonymously because the discussions are private.

Bloomberg notes: “BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of government-backed British Broadcasting Corp., would retain a controlling stake, they said.”

AMC Networks would include BBC America in its lineup when it negotiates for fees, giving both companies more bargaining strength, the story adds. That’s important given that pay-TV operators are pushing to restrain programming spending.

“In addition to keeping majority ownership of the channel, BBC Worldwide would control the brand while tapping AMC’s programming and advertising teams, the people said,” Bloomberg adds.

BBC America is available in about 80 million U.S. households, and its programs include “Doctor Who” and “Orphan Black.”

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