Jun 29, 2017
8:42 am

‘American Idol’ Bringing Back Key Players (Variety)

ABC’s revival of “American Idol,” which wrapped on Fox last year after 15 seasons, will share a lot of key players with the original series.

Variety reports that producer FremantleMedia “has quietly begun to draw a number of ‘Idol’ veterans once again into the show’s orbit.”

Among the returning behind-the-scenes players will be senior supervising producer Patrick Lynn; Wylleen May, executive in charge in production; music supervisor Robin Kaye; and co-executive producer Megan Michaels Wolflick, the publication reports in an exclusive. Also back in camp will be musical director Rickey Minor.

Variety notes, however, that a number of puzzle pieces remain out of the picture — notably former executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, who have reportedly not been approached about becoming involved with the new show. “Idol” creator Simon Fuller is also not attached at this point.

“ABC also has yet to close a deal with Ryan Seacrest, with the sticking point believed to be an executive producer credit being [sought] by the longtime host,” Variety adds.

Jun 29, 2017
8:25 am

MTV Doing Damage Control Over Impaired Driving Incident (People, TVWeek)

After an episode of one of its programs triggered a torrent of criticism for apparently showcasing impaired driving, MTV went into spin mode, distancing itself from one of the stars of the show.

The incident took place Monday on the reality show “Teen Mom OG,” where Ryan Edwards appeared to nod off behind the wheel. Later in the episode, Edwards and Mackenzie Standifer got married.

People magazine recounts the incident this way: “As Edwards was behind the wheel, Standifer looked visibly worried and tight-lipped. Keeping on eye on him, she had to tap him several times to get him to focus on the road; his eyes visibly looked dazed and slightly shut. At one point, she took the wheel in her hand from the passenger seat to straighten their car on the road.

“Turning toward the cameras placed inside the vehicle, she began to shut them off. Although the cameras were turned off, the audio continued to roll and caught what she asked her soon-to-be husband.”

Standifer can be heard on the audio recording asking Edwards: “Did you take Xanax again?”

He then mumbles: “Um, I don’t … I don’t have any,” and Standifer responds: “You did.”

After a social media uproar over the incident, an MTV spokesperson released a statement saying: “MTV does not condone driving under the influence. Ryan’s erratic behavior was due to actions that he took without anyone’s prior knowledge.”

Edwards, who reportedly went into rehab since the episode was filmed, issued his own statement, saying: “A little over 30 days ago, I made the decision to check myself into a rehabilitation facility. I am back home now doing well, and life could not be better.”

Jun 29, 2017
7:58 am

Trump Lashes Out at Cable News Host — Was It Prompted by His Fake Time Magazine Covers? (TVWeek, AP, YouTube)

Donald Trump unleashed a vicious Twitter attack this morning, firing his harshest comments at cable news host Mika Brzezinski.

In a pair of tweets sent out back-to-back, Trump wrote: “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

The tweets targeting Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, co-hosts of the MSNBC program “Morning Joe,” came after Trump was mocked on the show Wednesday over the revelation that Trump had fake Time magazine covers featuring himself posted at his golf resorts. Brzezinski in particular went after Trump over the Time covers — you can see the clip below.

Trump’s attack on Brzezinski drew a number of pointed responses.

“Brzezinski responded on Twitter by posting a photograph of a Cheerios box that has the phrase ‘made for little hands.’ That was a dig at Trump, who has long been sensitive about the size of his hands,” the AP reports.

In a statement, NBC News spokeswoman Lorie Acio said: “It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.”

Mark Kornblau, senior VP of Communications for the NBCUniversal News Group, tweeted: “Never imagined a day when I would think to myself, ‘it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States.'”

Jun 28, 2017
6:03 pm

CBS News Launches New Prime-Time Series (TVWeek)

CBS announced today that its news division is launching a new prime-time series that will feature immersive reports from around the world. “CBSN: On Assignment” will premiere Monday, July 31, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS television and digital platforms.

The hourlong program will run on four consecutive Mondays, and will also stream live on CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 streaming news service.

CBS describes the show as a “primetime summer series featuring experiential reports driven by fresh voices and perspectives from around the world.”

“Each hourlong edition will feature multiple stories, ranging from on-the-ground reporting of grassroots efforts to combat inner-city gun violence to interviews with those risking their lives to expose corruption to investigations into new terrorist threats,” the network says in its announcement.

Said executive producer Mosheh Oinounou: “‘CBSN: On Assignment’ will take viewers on a thought-provoking journey featuring compelling stories from around the globe. The stories are intense, interesting and immersive.”

Added Nancy Lane, Senior Executive Producer for CBS News Digital: “This is an opportunity to showcase the voices and original storytelling from CBSN to an entirely new audience. Our long-form programming enhances our live, anchored coverage throughout the day.”

Jun 28, 2017
5:37 pm

Used ‘Star Wars’ Droid Sells for Astronomical Price (AP)

A droid that was featured in a number of “Star Wars” movies sold at auction for an out-of-this-world price: nearly $3 million.

The AP reports that the California-based auction house Profiles in History sold the 43-inch-tall R2-D2 unit for $2.76 million. The droid was built from parts used throughout production on the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

“There was no information about who purchased the droid, which was the most expensive item offered in a movie memorabilia auction that included numerous props from the ‘Star Wars’ franchise,” the AP reports. “Other items up for sale included Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber from the first two films, which sold for $450,000, and Darth Vader’s helmet from the original film sold for $96,000.”

A collection of 23 ships from “Battlestar Galactica” and “Buck Rogers” sold for $1.8 million, the report notes.

Jun 28, 2017
5:26 pm

FX Networks Makes Key Moves in Development and Current Series (TVWeek)

FX Networks announced some moves today on its development and current series teams, which are responsible for all original scripted programming across the company’s suite of networks.

Colette Wilson was promoted to Senior Vice President, Current Series, for FX Networks, Barbara Crawford was promoted to Vice President, Current Series, for FX Networks, and Kevin Wandell was promoted to Vice President, Development, for FX Networks.

The moves were announced by Nick Grad and Eric Schrier, Presidents of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions.

In a statement, Grad and Schrier said: “Colette, Barbara and Kevin have been integral to the growth and success of FX Networks’ slate of original programs and we are happy that they will be playing an even greater role going forward. The extraordinary success of the series they develop and oversee, including last year’s most acclaimed drama series and comedy series, is a testament to their creative instincts, tireless effort and commitment to the ‘Fearless’ storytelling that is the hallmark of FX Networks.”

Please click here to read the full announcement.

Jun 28, 2017
5:11 pm

Late-Night Show Notches the Most-Watched Quarter in Its History (TVWeek)

A late-night program is quietly chalking up some impressive ratings achievements, including its most-watched quarter ever and its most-watched month ever. The program is Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”

Comedy Central announced results today for the second quarter, noting that June has been the show’s most-watched month of all time in total viewers.

“This past quarter also boasted Noah’s most-watched ever and highest-rated week since his premiere week during the week of May 29 (1.69 million total viewers P2+; 0.82 Adults 18-49 rating),” the network said. “‘The Daily Show’ continues to be the premiere late-night destination for millennials for the seventh consecutive quarter, finishing as the #1 daily, late-night talk show among Men 18-24 and Men 18-34 and #2 among all millennials, behind ‘The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.'”

“The Daily Show’ averaged 1.5 million total viewers in the second quarter of 2017, up 2% vs. the first quarter and up 26% vs. the second quarter of 2016.

“June was Noah’s most-watched month ever averaging 1.54 million total viewers,” Comedy Central noted. “Across the entirety of Noah’s second season at the helm of ‘The Daily Show’ he has posted monthly and quarterly gains vs. year ago levels. Season-to-date, ‘The Daily Show’ is averaging 1.43 million total viewers and a 0.69 Adults 18-49 rating, up double-digits from the year-ago period (+13%, +10%).”

Please click here for more of the numbers and additional details in the Comedy Central announcement.

Jun 28, 2017
12:39 pm

Sarah Palin Sues The New York Times (NY Post)

Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin filed a lawsuit Tuesday against The New York Times alleging defamation, The New York Post reports.

The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, concerns a recent editorial connecting one of Palin’s political action committee ads to the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona in which six people were killed and Democratic lawmaker Gabby Giffords was severely injured, the story reports.

The Post reports that the suit accuses The Times of having “violated the law and its own policies” when it accused Palin — in a “fabricated story” — of inciting the attack. Palin is seeking damages to be determined by a jury.

The Times editorial, which ran June 14, accused Palin of “political incitement” before the Arizona shooting, The Post reports. “The paper said Palin incited th​​e shooting, which left ​congresswoman ​Gabby Gifford​s​ with a severe brain injury, through an ad from her PAC that put ‘Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs,'” The Post reports. “In fact, the ad never put Giffords or any other individual in the cross hairs — forcing the newspaper of record to issue an embarrassing correction.”

Jun 28, 2017
12:27 pm

Trump Creeps Out His Critics With Comments About Female Reporter (TVWeek, Twitter)

Donald Trump sparked a social media freakout when he took time out from a phone call with new Irish leader Leo Varadkar to admire a female reporter who was working the event in the Oval Office.

RTE Washington correspondent Caitriona Perry, one of a number of members of the Irish press who were on hand to cover the phone call, posted a video of the incident on her Twitter account, which you can see by clicking here.

In the clip, Trump can be seen on the phone when he motions for Perry to come up to his desk and offers a series of comments presumably intended as compliments. “She has a nice smile on her face,” he tells Varadkar. “I bet she treats you well.” Perry and others respond with mild laughter and Perry walks away from Trump’s desk.

Perry calls it a “bizarre moment” in her Twitter post, which you can see below. But other Twitter users framed the incident in far more negative terms. Here are a few samples from the comments in response to Perry’s post:

  • “It’s hell to be objectified. When POTUS has no fear of doing that surrounded by cameras… I’m so sorry. Your success is more than a smile.”
  • “Remarks like that in workplace R completely inappropriate. There’s a time & place: discussing one’s attractiveness in workplace is wrong.”
  • “SO very gross! OMG! I am so sad for all the women who must interact with him. SO DISGUSTING! #notmypresident #NOCLASS #PREDATOR”
  • “Do these women have any dignity?… he’s so gross, I’d feign sickness not to see or hear him”
  • “His wife defends him. She should be forced to be around him at all times. The other females have real work to do. Hope Colbert caught that.”
  • “Repulsive. This sexual predator is using his power to blatantly abuse a woman on-camera. Anyone who thinks this is ok needs to wake the F up”
  • “I couldn’t understand what he said. He’s on the level of a 14 yr old boy. Gross.”

Jun 28, 2017
10:59 am

Why a ‘Fast and Furious’ Cast Member Is Threatening to Walk Away From the Hit Film Franchise (TVWeek, Instagram, EW)

One of the regulars from the wildly successful “Fast and Furious” feature film franchise is upset with the series over the relatively low profile of its female characters.

Michelle Rodriguez, who has played Letty in the films since the original movie in 2001, put up a post on her Instagram account in connection with the digital release of the eighth franchise film, “The Fate of the Furious.” In it she wrote: “I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one. Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It’s been a good ride & Im grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years.”

The post, which you can see below, includes photos of Rodriguez and others on the set.

Rodriguez spoke out strongly on the issue in an interview last month with Entertainment Weekly, in which she said: “Having girls run around and do a bunch of really cool stuff, that’s great, it’s wonderful, but we never talk to each other. It’s very rare that they even look at each other. I’ve been making movies with Jordana [Brewster], who plays the sister of Dom Toretto, for 16 years and I can count on one hand how many lines I’ve had to her. I think that’s pathetic and it’s lack of creativity.”

She added: “Guys don’t know what girls talk about. They think that girls just sit around talking about guys and it’s a sad truth of men being the dominant writers in Hollywood.”

In the EW interview, Rodriguez also suggested “bringing some more women on the good team, not just bringing an amazing actress to play the bad guy, and having more female camaraderie, having women do things independently outside of what the boys are doing — that is truly the voice of female independence.”

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