Dec 22, 2014
2:23 pm

Singer Joe Cocker Dies (Rolling Stone)

Singer Joe Cocker, who became an icon of the Woodstock Generation with his raspy, blues-tinged performance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, has died. Rolling Stone reports that Cocker died today at his home in Colorado following a fight with lung cancer.

The British-born Cocker, one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers, was 70.

His agent, Barrie Marshall, confirmed his death, saying, “It will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts.”

Sony Music released a statement saying: “John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on December 22nd, 2014 after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer. Joe Cocker was born 5/20/1944 in Sheffield, England where he lived until his early 20s. In 2007 he was awarded the OBE by the Queen of England. His international success as a blues/rock singer began in 1964 and continues till this day. Joe created nearly 40 albums and toured extensively around the globe.”

Cocker’s death sparked a number of tributes from fellow performers. Ringo Starr tweeted: “Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends, peace and love.”

“Cocker’s rendition of the Starr-sung Beatles classic ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ — later immortalized as the theme song from ‘The Wonder Years’ — became one of his most enduring hits, along with covers of the Beatles’ ‘She Came in Through the Bathroom Window’ and Billy Preston’s ‘You Are So Beautiful,’” Rolling Stone reports. “Cocker also scored a Number One hit in 1982 for his ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ duet with Jennifer Warnes, ‘Up Where We Belong,’ which went on to win a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal as well as the Best Original Song at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.”

Here’s Cocker’s performance of “With a Little Help From My Friends” from Woodstock in 1969:

Dec 22, 2014
2:17 pm

What’s the Top Basic Cable Network of 2014 in Total Viewers? (TVWeek)

The cable network that is poised to finish 2014 as the top basic cable net in total viewers for total day will also be No. 1 in total day in kids 2-11. The network is Nickelodeon, which issued an announcement today saying it’s projected to end the year at No. 1 in both measures.

From Dec. 30, 2013, through Dec. 18, 2014, Nick had a 2.6 average rating and 808,000 viewers 2-11, and 1.5 million total viewers.

“In a year marked by a record amount of new content launches, Nick’s 2014 performance is currently +13% ahead of the next closest competitor with kids 2-11 and ahead +9% among total viewers,” the network said. “This year, Nickelodeon launched the live-action hits ‘Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn’ and ‘Henry Danger,’ which both posted year-over-year increases in their time periods with key kid demos. ‘Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn’ grew +12% with kids 2-11 over last year and +27% with kids 6-11, while ‘Henry Danger’ saw increases of +11% with kids 2-11 and +20% with kids 6-11.”

Another live-action Nickelodeon show, “Every Witch Way,” is among the top 10 kids’ programs of the year with +25% year-over-year increases in kids 2-11. Meanwhile, “SpongeBob SquarePants” is the No. 1 animated kids program with total viewers across basic cable.


Dec 22, 2014
2:11 pm

Time Warner Cable to Add Surcharge for Sports (Multichannel News)

Time Warner Cable said it will add a surcharge that customers will have to pay for sports programming. Multichannel News reports that the pay TV distributor will add $2.75 a month to bills starting in January.

“Time Warner Cable is one of several distributors that said they were either implementing or increasing their sports surcharge in 2015, including Cablevision Systems, DirecTV and Mediacom Communications,” the story reports. “In addition, Time Warner Cable said it would increase its nine-month-old broadcast TV surcharge to $2.75 per month from $2.25 and would increase its monthly modem lease fee from $5.98 to $8 next year. Customers can avoid the lease charge if they purchase their own modems.”

The fee will not affect customers who are covered by promotional offers, but the new charges will kick in at the end of the promotional period, the report notes.

The article adds: “Time Warner Cable said broadcast fees have risen more than 60% in the past two years and that the cost of cable sports channels has increased 91% since 2008. The company said the charges only represent a fraction of what it pays to programmers.”

time warner cable-logo

Dec 22, 2014
2:01 pm

Disney Inks Retrans Deal With National Cable TV Cooperative for ABC-Owned Stations (TVWeek)

The National Cable Television Cooperative and The Walt Disney Co. announced today that they have reached their first long-term retransmission consent agreement for ABC’s eight owned local stations.

The stations are WABC-TV in New York City, KABC-TV in Los Angeles, WLS-TV in Chicago, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, KGO-TV in San Francisco, WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, KTRK-TV in Houston and KFSN in Fresno.

“The retransmission consent agreement comes on the heels of a comprehensive long-term distribution agreement completed in August between The Walt Disney Company and NCTC to deliver Disney’s robust lineup of top quality sports, news and entertainment content to participating NCTC members’ customers across TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices,” the companies said in their announcement.

The NCTC represents almost 950 member companies nationwide. NCTC members in ABC-owned markets will also continue to have the ability to provide the authenticated WATCH ABC live streaming service to customers.

Said Judy Meyka, NCTC Executive Vice President of Programming: “We are pleased to have reached, for the first time, a retransmission consent agreement with the Walt Disney Company that supports our Members’ efforts to competitively offer their customers the ABC owned broadcast station programming in these critical television markets.”

David Preschlack, executive vice president, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks, added: “We are pleased for the first time ever to work with NCTC to expand our long relationship to now include an agreement for retransmission consent for the eight ABC-owned broadcast stations. NCTC and its members clearly value the important role our highly-rated ABC stations play in their local communities, and we look forward to providing compelling and meaningful content for their customers.”

disney logo

Dec 22, 2014
7:47 am

Sarah Jessica Parker Has a New HBO Comedy (Deadline)

Sarah Jessica Parker, whose six-season run on “Sex and the City” from 1998-2004 helped cement HBO’s reputation for top-tier original programming, has a new HBO comedy project in the works. reports that the pay-cable channel is finalizing deals for a half-hour comedy to star and be executive produced by Parker.

The comedy, “Divorce,” which focuses on the long, drawn-out process of ending a marriage, is written by British writer-actress Sharon Horgan and is expected to be produced in New York, where “Sex and the City” was based and where Parker lives.

“This is the first major TV acting commitment since ‘Sex and the City’ for Parker, who has been actively pursued by broadcast and cable networks,” the story reports. “Her only series gig has been a recent arc on Fox’s ‘Glee.’ As a producer, she exec produced the 2009 HBO pilot ‘Washingtonienne.’ In features, CAA-repped Parker will next be seen in ‘All Roads Lead to Rome.’”

Paul Simms, who has worked with Lena Dunham on HBO’s “Girls,” will work with Horgan as executive producer and co-showrunner, the report adds. Horgan created or co-created the British shows “Dead Boss” and “Bad Management.”

sex and the city-title

Dec 22, 2014
7:31 am

‘Planet of the Apes’ Actor Dies (Deadline)

A character actor who appeared in a number of TV shows including “Planet of the Apes” has died. reports that Booth Colman died in his sleep Dec. 15. He was 91.

A Shakespeare expert who portrayed authority figures, Colman was known for his role as Dr. Zaius on the TV adaptation of “Planet of the Apes,” which aired on CBS in 1974. The role brought him invitations to appear at fan conventions for years, the story notes.

His other TV roles included “Gunsmoke,” “Hogan’s Heroes” and “Star Trek,” along with many other guest appearances. His film roles included his 1952 debut in “The Big Sky” and later roles in movies such as “Intolerable Cruelty.”

booth colman

Booth Colman

Dec 22, 2014
7:29 am

‘The Colbert Report’ Ends on a High Note (Deadline)

Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report” ended its run on Comedy Central on a high note, pulling in the largest audience in the show’s history for Thursday’s final episode, reports.

About 2.5 million viewers tuned in to watch Colbert air his last episode of the show. By comparison, when the show recently hosted President Obama, the program drew what was considered a big audience, with 1.732 million viewers.

Colbert will return to television next year, when he takes over CBS’s “Late Show” from David Letterman. The time slot for “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central will be filled by “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” starting Jan. 19.

colbert report-title

Dec 22, 2014
7:27 am

Emmy-Winning TV Director Dies (LA Times)

A veteran director of television drama series who spent much of his long career working on New York-based soap operas has died. The Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports that Larry Auerbach died Saturday in La Jolla, Calif.

His son Scott told the newspaper that Auerbach died of complications from glioblastoma. He was 91.

Auerbach directed “Love of Life” throughout its nearly 30-year lifespan, the story notes. The soap opera, which debuted in 1951, featured actors including Warren Beatty, Christopher Reeve, Roy Scheider, Jessica Walter and Jon Voigt, as well as Sammy Davis Jr., who was a fan and guest starred in the 1970s, the report adds.

At the end of its run in 1980, the show’s head writer was Ann Marcus, who died earlier this month. She went on to write and help create the soap opera spoof “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”

During his 50-year career, Auerbach also directed episodes of the soaps “All My Children” and “As the World Turns,” and won a Daytime Emmy in 1984 for his work on “One Life to Live.”

The story notes: “He was considered such a soap opera expert that Dustin Hoffman consulted with him on ‘Tootsie,’ in which the actor played a soap opera star.”

The Directors Guild of America says in its profile of Auerbach: “As the director of the early CBS soap opera ‘Love of Life’ — from its first episode in 1951 to its finale 28 years later — Auerbach was associated with a single television program possibly longer than any other director. And through his longstanding participation in the DGA, he tirelessly pushed for the increased stature of soap opera directors and better working conditions for the entire directing team.”

larry auerbach

Larry Auerbach

Dec 22, 2014
7:21 am

Ad Spending Grows, as TV Is the Only Sector to Post Third-Quarter Gains (TVNewsCheck)

Spending on advertising in the U.S. posted year-to-year gains in the third quarter, with TV the only sector in a new analysis by Kantar Media to show growth, TVNewsCheck reports.

According to the data released today, spot TV rose 5.2% in the quarter, with political spending the primary contributor, the story reports. Television ad spending overall rose 6.5% in the quarter.

“Spanish-language TV rose 23.7% and was fueled by the final two weeks of the World Cup tournament in July,” the story reports. “Spending on cable TV networks was up 7.9% in the period with roughly one-third of the gain attributable to increased commercial time.”

Gains in spot TV and the Spanish and cable segments — collectively estimated at $700 million higher than a year ago — offset softer results in network TV, which was up 0.2%, and national syndication, up 1.6%, according to Kantar.

“Total U.S. advertising expenditures increased 0.3% in the third quarter of 2014 to $33.7 billion. During the first nine months of 2014, ad spending grew 2.2%,” TVNewsCheck adds.

Internet display spending slipped 1.7% in the third quarter, with the report attributing the loss to fewer page views by desktop computer users, resulting in fewer ad impressions. The analysis does not cover Mobile Internet display spending.

kantar media-logo

Dec 22, 2014
7:17 am

FX’s ‘American Crime’ Casts One of NBC’s ‘Friends’ as Robert Kardashian (THR)

An actor known for his role as one of the “Friends” on the long-running NBC sitcom is joining the FX anthology “American Crime: The People v. O.J. Simpson.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that David Schwimmer will co-star as Simpson’s friend and attorney Robert Kardashian.

The first season of the anthology series from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

The 10-episode series will look at the trial through the attorneys’ perspective, as well as the behind-the-scenes dealings of the court. The cast also includes Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson and Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark.

run of his life-people v OJ Simpson-book cover

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