May 24, 2017
2:21 pm

FCC Reaches Decision on Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Remarks About Trump (Variety, TVWeek, CBS)

After receiving complaints about the May 1 broadcast of CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the Federal Communications Commission concluded that Colbert’s remarks about Donald Trump that night did not rise to the level of obscenity or indecency.

Variety reports that the Commission received thousands of complaints about Colbert’s opening monologue, in which Colbert unleashed a torrent of insults against Trump. The comment that generated the bulk of the attention was one in which Colbert said: “The only thing [Trump’s] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster.”

The FCC has issued a statement in which it says: “Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints. The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC’s rules.”

Variety notes that the remark by Colbert was bleeped out of the broadcast and his mouth was blurred.

As we reported previously, much of the focus on the line came from viewers who considered it homophobic.

The monologue that generated the uproar was posted by CBS and remains online. You can watch it below, with the most controversial section beginning at about the 11:12 mark …

May 24, 2017
2:18 pm

TV Special Examines Bill Cosby’s Downfall (TVWeek)

A new TV special delves into the secret life of Bill Cosby to explore the downfall of the onetime popular culture icon who became known as “America’s Dad.”

Investigation Discovery will premiere the one-hour special, “Bill Cosby: An American Scandal,” on Monday, June 5. The program is being presented in partnership with AMI, Weinstein Television and Jupiter Entertainment.

“For more than five decades Bill Cosby warmed the hearts of fans nationwide through his comedy shows, his enduring hit television series ‘The Cosby Show’ and his notable charitable works,” ID says in an announcement for the show. “But is it possible there was something more sinister lurking behind his wit, charm and generosity? In one of the most stunning recent reversals in public life, more than 50 women have come forward in recent years with allegations that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them.”

The telecast comes as Cosby is about to stand trial for the alleged 2004 assault of Andrea Constand.

Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, Destination America and American Heroes Channel, says in the announcement: “Dr. Cliff Huxtable — a doting father living a perfect, suburban life — appears to be a far cry from the picture painted by Bill Cosby’s accusers, Between the upcoming trial and the inevitable verdict in the court of public opinion, our viewers and, indeed, all of his fans, want to know if we adored a man who was secretly a monster.”

The program features interviews with some of Cosby’s alleged victims, including actress and artist Lili Bernard, who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her while preparing for a guest role on “The Cosby Show” in the 1990s.

Other notable interviews featured in “Bill Cosby: An American Scandal” include:

  • Shawn Brown, former girlfriend of Bill Cosby
  • Gloria Allred, attorney currently representing 33 Cosby accusers
  • Chuck Vinson, director, The Cosby Show
  • Ronald L. Smith, Cosby biographer
  • Manuel Roig-Franzia, reporter, The Washington Post
  • Beth Karas, legal analyst
  • Dr. Judy Kuriansky, clinical psychologist
  • Mark Ebner, investigative journalist
  • Dylan Howard, editor-in-chief, National Enquirer
  • Jarrett Ferentino, attorney

“Bill Cosby: An American Scandal” is produced for Investigation Discovery by Weinstein Television, American Media, Inc., and Jupiter Entertainment with Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, Patrick Reardon, Stephen Land, Allison Wallach, Matt Sprouse, David Pecker and Dylan Howard as executive producers. For Investigation Discovery, Pamela Deutsch is senior executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production and Kevin Bennett is general manager.

May 24, 2017
1:44 pm

Trump-Focused Show Gets Order for Extra Episodes After Strong Start (TVWeek, Comedy Central)

A TV show that focuses largely on Donald Trump has received an extended episode order from Comedy Central. The network announced that it extended “The President Show” for seven additional episodes.

Created by Anthony Atamanuik, who hosts the show as Donald J. Trump, and produced by Clone Wolf Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment, the weekly late-night program airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

The series premiered April 27, with its initial run of six episodes scheduled through June 1. The premiere delivered 1 million viewers in L+3, which Comedy Central noted was the network’s largest audience for a series premiere since “Broad City.” The show has been averaging 870,000 total viewers over its first four episodes.

“In its timeslot, the series adult 18-49 rating is up +21% versus a year ago and up +25% in total viewers. On digital, streams of ‘The President Show’ are up nearly 400% versus all other Comedy Central premieres in 2017,” the network noted.

Comedy Central President Kent Alterman announced the extension, commenting: “Whether we’re witnessing the end of democracy, or merely the end of the world, it’s a privilege seeing it from the inside.”

Please click here to read the full announcement from Comedy Central, with additional notes about the series.

Here’s a clip from the show …

May 24, 2017
1:37 pm

Two Major Documentaries to Kick Off Relaunched ‘Biography’ Banner (TVWeek, A&E, YouTube)

A&E will soon unveil its relaunch of the venerable “Biography” documentary series, kicking things off with “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” and “Who Killed Tupac?”

“Biggie” will air in two parts, starting with the two-hour premiere on Wednesday, June 28, followed by the final hour on Thursday, June 29.

The six-part limited series “Who Killed Tupac?” premieres June 29.

Please click here for details on both productions in the full announcement from A&E.

May 24, 2017
12:57 pm

Discovery Takes Wraps Off Summer Slate (TVWeek, Discovery)

Discovery Channel today unveiled its lineup of original programming for the summer, including television’s longest-running summer event, Shark Week, which premieres Sunday, July 23.

Other highlights include the all-new series “Darkness,” the doucmentary special “Mosquito,” the series “Manhunt: Unabomber,” the Sundance selection “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman” and the new documentary series “First in Human.”

A programming stunt, Throwback Weekend, is on tap for June 17. Also coming up are the specials “Deadliest Catch: Legend of Wild Bill” and “Diesel Brothers: The Double Header.”

The new series “Devil’s Canyon” is set for a June 6 premiere, and among the returning shows are “Alaskan Bush People” and “Homestead Rescue.”

The lineup also features the return of “Misfit Garage” and “Naked and Afraid” along with the new shows “Carspotting” and “Garage Rehab.”

Please click here for all the dates and details.

May 24, 2017
12:49 pm

Whoa! Massive Landslide on California’s Historic Highway 1 Near Big Sur — Check Out This Video (CBS News)

Striking video from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office shows a landslide that buried a section of California’s Highway 1 along Mud Creek, about 8 miles north of the Monterey/San Luis Obispo county line. If you’re planning to head to the Big Sur area anytime soon, this could put a serious crimp in your travel plans.

The landslide reportedly buried the highway under a 40-foot layer of rock and dirt.

Here’s the video, posted by CBS News …

May 24, 2017
12:44 pm

CMT Music Awards to Feature Superstar Pairings — Here’s Who Will Be Performing With Whom (TVWeek)

The 2017 CMT Music Awards are coming up in a couple of weeks, and CMT announced today that the telecast will feature a number of superstar musical pairings.

“Building upon an unmatched reputation for superstar cross-genre pairings, CMT today announced that breakout artists the Chainsmokers will perform with superstar duo Florida Georgia Line for the first time on television during the ‘2017 CMT Music Awards,'” the network said. “In a performance sure to span multiple decades, Lady Antebellum will jam out with Earth, Wind & Fire, while country royalty Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood will perform live together for the first time on any CMT stage.”

The artists join previously announced performers Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Thomas Rhett in the lineup. The ceremony will be televised from Nashville’s Music City Center on Wednesday, June 7, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Additional performers are expected to be announced soon.

“Hosted by Nashville star Charles Esten, country music’s highly anticipated night will see breakout stars Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett going head-to-head against country music veteran Keith Urban for most nominations,” CMT noted.

Seven finalists for the night’s biggest award, Video of the Year, will be revealed on the morning of June 7.

“Last year’s ‘CMT Music Awards’ once again earned its title as the hottest night in country music attracting nearly 4 million fans, its biggest to date, across a three-network simulcast (CMT, TV Land and Nick@Nite) up +20% from the prior year,” CMT noted in today’s announcement.

May 24, 2017
8:44 am

HBO Releases Official Trailer for ‘Game of Thrones,’ Season 7 — Watch It Now (HBO)

The eagerly awaited season seven premiere of the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones” is coming up July 16, and the pay-cable channel today released the official trailer for the season.

Here it is …

May 24, 2017
7:31 am

Amazon Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore Coming to L.A. — See Where (Forbes)

Amazon may be ramping up its move into brick-and-mortar bookstores, with the latest addition to the lineup of planned stores being slated for the Westfield Century City Shopping Center in Los Angeles.

Ellen Duffer, who covers the publishing industry, notes in Forbes that Amazon currently has stores in six locations. “It’s getting to the point where it’s clear that, were Amazon using bookstores as an ‘experiment’ meant to gauge the level of success of larger brick-and-mortar operations, the company seems to be ready to move to the next phase,” she writes.

Duffer adds: “The aggressive opening schedule seems to indicate that these bookstores are doing well enough — satisfying whatever hypotheses the company developed — to keep going.”

Duffer also notes: “It’s probably not great for the bounty of independent bookstores to see Amazon, not-so-lovingly nicknamed ‘The Bookstore Killer,’ experimenting with brick-and-mortar retail (although whether the company actually did harm the existence of the indie bookstore is up for debate).”

May 23, 2017
1:19 pm

One Network Just Won the Season Ratings — and Knocked Out a Milestone or Two in the Process (TheWrap)

The 2016-2017 broadcast television season still has three nights left to go, but the ratings battle is over. TheWrap reports that NBC has clinched first place in prime time in the key 18-49 demo.

“It’s the first time in five years that a network has finished No. 1 without the Super Bowl or an Olympics boost,” the story reports. “Speaking of sports, NBC didn’t even need them to claim its trophy this time around. Counting entertainment shows only, the Peacock still flies the highest among the over-the-air channels — this is the first time they could say that since the final seasons of ‘Friends’ and ‘Frasier.’”

Looking at prime time overall, NBC has averaged a 2.1 rating this season in 18-49 to lead the pack, followed by Fox at 1.9, CBS at 1.8, ABC at 1.6 and the CW at 0.7. The numbers include Nielsen’s “most current” metric, calculating Live+7 through 35 weeks of the season.

CBS remains dominant in total viewers, averaging 9.6 million to lead NBC (8.1 million), ABC (6.2 million), Fox (5.8 million) and the CW (1.8 million). CBS has now won total viewers in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

Looking at entertainment programming alone, with live news and sports taken out of the equation, NBC stands at No. 1 in adults 18-49 with a 1.7 average rating, just ahead of ABC and CBS (both with 1.6 averages) and ahead of Fox (1.3) and the CW (0.7).

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