Sep 17, 2014
6:02 pm

Drama Series Shuts Down Production After Death on the Set (Deadline)

Production on a science-fiction drama was shut down after a fatality occurred on the set. reports that the TNT series “Falling Skies” shut down following the death of a Teamsters security guard.

The guard was hit by an unattended truck, which rolled down a hill and pinned him against a tree, the story says. The incident happened in a park in Burnaby, British Columbia, where the show is taping its fifth and final season.

“A five-ton truck parked on a 6% slope had been left unattended,” said WorkSafeBC spokesman Scott McCloy, whose group is investigating the death. “The vehicle tailgate was lowered for off-loading of equipment. The truck rolled backwards down the slope and the deceased worker was caught between the tailgate and the tree.”

TNT said it is “deeply saddened by this tragic event, and on behalf of the producers and TNT, we wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of the security guard.”


Sep 17, 2014
5:58 pm

Ken Burns’ Latest PBS Series Looks Like a Blockbuster (TVWeek)

As were “The Civil War” and “The War” before it, master documentarian Ken Burns’ latest PBS documentary series, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” is turning out to be a massive blockbuster for PBS.

The program’s first installment, which premiered Sunday, reportedly delivered 9.06 million total viewers for PBS, based on Nielsen Fast National Live + SD figures.

Please click here to read TVWeek Open Mic blogger Hillary Atkin’s full report on the series, which continues its run through Sept. 20, with streaming on a number of platforms through Sept. 29.

Sep 17, 2014
5:56 pm

Whoa! Man Gets 422 MILLION American Express Membership Rewards Points With This Purchase. It’s Our Non-TV Story of the Day (Bloomberg)

So how does one get 422 million American Express Membership Rewards points? According to Bloomberg, “A Chinese collector who bought an ancient Chinese ceramic cup for a record … $36 million” at auction got the rewards points when he paid for the purchase with his American Express Centurion Card.

The collector’s name is Liu Yiqian, and he “used his credit card, which is denominated in yuan, because currency restrictions won’t allow him to transfer that much money directly from China to Hong Kong. Individuals are limited to moving $50,000 per year outside the country because of capital controls,” the story says.

“Liu, who drank Chinese tea from the cup shortly before he paid for it, had to sign 24 separate AmEx receipts because the system can only swipe transactions of up to HK$12 million at a time,” according to Bloomberg.

Among other items, Liu’s Membership Rewards points can be converted to more than 28 million frequent flyer miles.

So, how does one qualify for a Centurion Card? Wikipedia says: “American Express introduced the Centurion Card in 1999 to cater to a more affluent customer segment. The card was initially available only to selected users of the company’s Platinum Card. To become a Centurion cardholder, one must meet American Express’ eligibility criteria. Cardholders are required to pay an annual fee, and in some countries also an initiation fee. (In the United States, the initiation fee is $7,500 in addition to the $2,500 annual fee from each cardholder.) In addition to a variety of exclusive benefits, the card itself is made of anodized titanium with the information and numbers stamped into the metal…”

centuion card

Sep 17, 2014
5:54 pm

New Jerry Springer Show Gets Series Order (THR)

A new program hosted by Jerry Springer has received a series order. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cable channel GSN placed a 20-episode order for “Baggage on the Road,” a spinoff of its Springer-hosted dating game show “Baggage.”

Springer will also host the new series, which will debut next year. The spinoff is a half-hour game show where one contestant must choose among three potential partners, who all come with their own problems. Contestants reveal those issues in suitcases, putting their baggage inside actual baggage.

The spinoff has the twist of taking the concept on the road, with Springer planning to visit Austin and Baton Rouge in October, the story says.

The original “Baggage” is one of GSN’s highest-rated original shows, and is also the first GSN show to be nationally syndicated, the piece notes.

“It’s hard to be shocked in my line of work, but I’m continually amazed at how revealing the contestants on the show have been,” Springer said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to taking this show on the road and seeing how many fun but cringeworthy moments we get from people looking to find love.”

baggage-title-gsn-jerry springer

Sep 17, 2014
5:52 pm

Original ‘Cougar Town’ Cast Member Leaving Show (TVLine, TheWrap)

An original cast member on “Cougar Town” is leaving the TBS show. (SPOILER ALERT.) A report on says Brian Van Holt, who has played Bobby Cobb on the show since it debuted in 2009 on ABC, is exiting the series early in its sixth and final season. notes that Van Holt will rejoin the show later during season six as a guest star, with only the premiere currently slated to feature him.

Van Holt is leaving to pursue other opportunities, TVLine reports. The actor recently finished work on the Syfy limited series “Ascension.”

brian van holt

Brian Van Holt

Sep 17, 2014
5:50 pm

Soft Viewer Turnout for New Syndicated Talk Show (TheWrap)

A new syndicated talk show premiered Monday to viewer numbers that are being described as weak. reports that “The Real,” which stars Tamar Braxton, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Adrienne Bailon, drew what the article calls a “disheartening” 0.9 rating/3 share in primary run metered market averages.

That placed the show 40% below the numbers for its lead-in, the piece adds.

The show’s ratings were also 10 percent below the shows it replaced this year, the piece adds.

the real-title

Sep 17, 2014
5:48 pm

CBS Moves to Spur Change in Ratings Standard (Variety)

CBS would like the TV business to get on with transitioning to a new standard ratings metric, and Variety reports that the network announced today what it plans to do about it.

“The Eye said Wednesday it will add projected Live Plus 7 numbers to its daily overnight ratings reports as of next week, which marks the official start of the 2014-15 season and the rollout of the bulk of CBS’ fall slate,” the story reports. “The move is meant to be a statement to the TV biz and to advertisers that L7 ratings (and their C7 commercial ratings counterpart) should be seen as the new normal, given the vast growth of time-shifted viewing.”

Live Plus 7 takes into account DVR and VOD views within seven days of a program’s premiere on the linear channel. “For a host of complicated reasons, L7 numbers do not include most streaming activity other than live streaming of network programming done on a smartphone or tablet within the confines of the viewer’s home,” the report notes.

Fox has also moved in the same direction, and has been providing Live Plus 3 and Live Plus 7 projections for much of its programming for the past year.

Said CBS head man Leslie Moonves: “L7 and C7 are the metrics that more accurately account for how viewers watch our shows and how we get paid for our programming — both in advertising and content licensing. C7 deals were a significant part of our upfront negotiations this year, and we are doing more and more C7 deals all of the time. As new technologies continue to improve audience measurement across all platforms, these more precise metrics are becoming the industry standard, benefiting advertisers and content providers alike.”

Variety adds: “David Poltrack, CBS Corp.’s chief research officer, compared evaluating a show’s performance on overnight numbers to ‘reporting the results of a baseball game after the fifth inning.’”


Sep 17, 2014
5:46 pm

‘SNL’ Alum Returns to the Show as Host (EW)

A “Saturday Night Live” veteran who spent eight years on the NBC late-night sketch comedy show will be back on familiar ground when he returns next month as a guest host.’s Inside TV reports that Bill Hader will host the Oct. 11 installment of “SNL,” which will feature Hozier as the musical guest.

“This is Hader’s first time as a host; one can only hope he’ll tap into the deep reservoir of characters and impressions he accumulated during his eight years on the show,” the report notes. “And, yes, fingers crossed for Stefon.”

Hader exited “SNL” after the 2012-13 season. In 2012 he became the first “SNL” cast member since Eddie Murphy in 1984 to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series.

bill hader

Bill Hader

Sep 17, 2014
5:44 pm

One of the NFL’s Top Advertisers Takes Strong Stance on the League’s Problems: ‘We are not yet satisfied’ (Ad Age)

With the NFL under fire for its handling of suspended Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice’s attack on his then-fiancee, Anheuser-Busch InBev is weighing in, and it’s not pleased, reports Advertising Age.

The brewer, one of the NFL’s biggest advertisers and sponsors, issued what the publication calls a “stern statement that appears to put the NFL on notice.”

“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” the brewer said in its statement. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”

There was no indication that the brewer may pull advertising or support, however. A spokesman for A-B InBev said the company is “not prepared to share any additional details of our conversations with the league or our sponsorship activity at this time.”

An NFL representative said, “We understand. We are taking action and there will be much more to come.”

Before it issued the statement A-B InBev had declined to comment about Rice’s domestic-violence issue, the story adds.

Please click here to read the full report from Advertising Age.

a-b inbev-logo

Sep 17, 2014
5:42 pm

CNN Ordered to Rehire Fired Employees (AP)

CNN has been ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to rehire or compensate about 300 former employees, the Associated Press reports.

“The NLRB agreed with a November 2008 ruling by one of its administrative judges that CNN improperly replaced a unionized subcontractor, Team Video Services (TVS), with in-house non-union staffers, claiming ‘anti-union’ bias,” the story reports.

The board wrote, “We agree with the judge, essentially for the reasons he states, that CNN committed each of these violations.”

CNN has 14 days to either rehire the former employees to their former jobs or provide them with equivalent positions. CNN also has to pay bargaining union employees for any adverse tax consequences for receiving lump-sum reimbursements, the piece adds.

CNN said it disagrees with the decision and is evaluating its options.

national labor relations board-logo

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