Sep 16, 2014
6:00 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.

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Sep 16, 2014
5:58 pm

‘The View’ Returns With a New Set, New Faces and One Dominant (and Barefoot) Co-Host (LA Times)

“The View” returned Monday for its 18th season with an overhaul to its look, including a new set and logo, as well as new co-hosts Rosie Perez, Nicolle Wallace and Rosie O’Donnell, who joined returning moderator Whoopi Goldberg.

It’s the second go-round on the daytime talk staple for O’Donnell, who left the show “under acrimonious circumstances seven years ago,” reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker.

“It was O’Donnell who loomed the largest over the broadcast. The comedian, who recently lost 50 pounds thanks to a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, made herself conspicuously comfortable from the get-go, taking off her patent leather clogs and sitting cross-legged on her armchair — all to help her sciatica, she said,” the story reports.

The article adds: “During commercial breaks, she took questions from the audience and joked about her recent heart attack, her children and her infamous clashes with former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.”

Creator Barbara Walters, who has retired from the show, was at the taping, watching from the green room and interacting with the audience after the episode, the piece adds.

The show ended with a tribute to the late Joan Rivers, with Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth singing “Borrowed Angels.”

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Rosie Perez, left, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg and Nicolle Wallace

Sep 16, 2014
5:56 pm

CBS-Rihanna Feud Heats Up (Reuters)

An ongoing battle between CBS and singer Rihanna escalated today when the network announced it would drop a Rihanna song from its “Thursday Night Football” broadcast, Reuters reports.

“The decision came after the 26-year-old Barbadian singer took to Twitter to rail against the network for its decision to scrap the song last week along with other planned content as the network focused on the NFL’s growing domestic violence scandal,” the story reports.

CBS announced today that it will use original theme music to open its “Thursday Night Football” programming.

Rihanna reportedly tweeted to her 37.2 million followers: “CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday. Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this.” The Reuters story notes that the singer included an expletive in the tweet.

The story adds: “Neither CBS nor Rihanna directly acknowledged that the singer’s past history as a victim of domestic violence played a role in the decision. She was assaulted by singer and then-boyfriend Chris Brown on the eve of the 2009 Grammy Awards and a picture of her severely bruised face became [an] emblem of domestic abuse and violence against women.”

The song, Rihanna’s rendition of Jay Z’s “Run This Town,” had originally been slated for the opening segment of last week’s CBS “Thursday Night Football” opener between the Ravens and Steelers.

“Instead of the song, the network covered the indefinite suspension of former Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic abuse and an essay on domestic violence among other content,” the story reports, adding: “CBS said on Tuesday it was changing the format of the opening.”

CBS announced today in a statement: “Beginning this Thursday, we will be moving in a different direction with some elements of our ‘Thursday Night Football’ open. We will be using our newly created ‘Thursday Night Football’ theme music to open our game broadcast.”

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Sep 16, 2014
5:54 pm

Daytime Host on How Her Show Will Become ‘More Loose’ and ‘More Provocative’ (AP)

As her show prepares to return for its second season in syndication, talk show host Queen Latifah tells the Associated Press that the program will “be more loose, more playful, more fun, more provocative.”

Overall, she said, the show will be “juicy.”

The story reports: “Her first year with ‘The Queen Latifah Show,’ which returns this week in syndication (check local listings), provided a lesson in what worked and what didn’t. The show has a new executive producer, Todd Yasui, to steer it.”

The first week of the new season will include star appearances, such as Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Bell and Snoop Dogg. Latifah is still trying to get President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, the piece adds.

The show will include a segment called “One Step Further,” which is about helping people achieve their dreams, while another segment, “Queen Screen,” will broadcast Latifah to big screens in venues such as shopping malls, where she will surprise people with prizes.

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The show is competing not only with returning shows such as “Dr. Phil” but new entry “The Meredith Vieira Show,” the piece notes.

“We all know what this (competition) is and we all go hard,” Queen Latifah said. “I wish everybody the best of luck, but I’m focused on making this show a hit and building our audience.”

Sep 16, 2014
5:52 pm

Price War Looming Between Traditional Cable and Forthcoming New OTT Services? (24/7 Wall St.)

“U.S. consumers might get a break from the high costs of pay-TV subscriptions starting next year when several major providers plan to introduce streaming video on-demand services in what the broadband industry calls over-the-top (OTT) programming,” reports Paul Ausick of 24/7 Wall St.

The story continues, “The COO of CBS Corp., Joseph Ianniello, said earlier this month that the company’s Showtime channels are not restricted by any existing contracts with pay-TV providers from ‘doing something direct to consumer.’ ”

Ausick then says: “How much CBS would charge for that is not known, but to compete with Netflix and Hulu Plus the cost would have to be about $10 a month or less. That is a far cry from adding Showtime on top of a basic pay-TV package.” He adds that others likely to become OTT players include Verizon, Sony (which recently announced a deal to carry 22 of Viacom’s networks) and AT&T.

Ausick writes: “AT&T Inc. has what may be the most ambitious plan of all. Once the company’s proposed acquisition of DirecTV is completed, AT&T expects to bundle the satellite pay-TV service with a fixed wireless broadband service primarily to attract rural households. The company could deliver data speeds of at least 15 Mbps to rural subscribers, who are lucky to get half that now.”

To learn more details we urge you to click on the link above, which will take you to Ausick’s original story.


Sep 16, 2014
5:50 pm

HBO and Tom Hanks Are at It Again (Deadline)

Pay-cable channel HBO, which already has a wildly successful track record with Tom Hanks thanks to “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific,” among other productions, has another project in development with the two-time Oscar-winning actor.

The latest HBO-Hanks collaboration is a miniseries called “Factory Man,” based on the story of a furniture maker that battled the push to move jobs overseas, reports

The project is based on Beth Macy’s nonfiction book “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town.” The book, which looks at how the Bassett family battled the pressures of globalization and outsourcing to keep jobs in its Virginia hometown, has received positive reviews and debuted on the New York Times bestseller list.

Hanks will executive produce with Gary Goetzman of Playtone, with the latter behind HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” “John Adams” and “The Pacific.” Playtone is also producing HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge.”

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Sep 16, 2014
5:48 pm

The Numbers Are In, and the Winner Is … a Network That Just Notched Its First Full-Season Win in the Key Demo in 10 Years (TVWeek)

With the full 52-week 2013-14 prime-time TV season all but wrapped up, one network has clinched the top spot in the ratings for the full season: NBC announced that it won the key 18-49 demo for the first time in 10 years — its first full-season win since 2003-04.

Even excluding its coverage of the Olympics, NBC said, the network had the season’s highest overall rating in 18-49, topping Fox, which got a bump from the Super Bowl.

NBC also had something to crow about in total viewers, where the Peacock posted 25% growth over the previous season, the biggest gain for a Big 4 network in 25 years. Additionally, NBC won the summer 2014 season in 18-49, its fourth summer win in a row.

With one week still to be counted, NBC was running 14% ahead of its year-ago rating in adults 18-49, up from a 2.1 average rating to a 2.4. It was the only Big 4 network to post a year-to-year increase in the demo.

CBS remained in the top spot in total viewers, averaging 9.272 million — down 7% from 9.966 million a year ago. NBC was second with 8.272 million, an improvement of 25% from 6.642 million a year ago.

Here are the numbers for the Big 4 broadcast networks, based on Nielsen data — “most current” figures through Sept. 14:

2013-14 season averages: Adults 18-49

NBC: 2.4 (up 14% from 2.1 a year ago)
Fox: 2.1 (even with 2.1 a year ago)
CBS: 2.0 (down 17% from 2.4 a year ago)
ABC: 1.9 (down 5% from 2.0 a year ago)

Total Viewers

CBS: 9.272 million (down 7% from 9.966 million a year ago)
NBC: 8.272 million (up 25% from 6.642 million a year ago)
ABC: 6.819 million (down 2% from 6.986 million a year ago)
Fox: 6.165 million (up 3% from 5.990 million a year ago)

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Sep 16, 2014
5:46 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 16, 2014
5:44 pm

VH1 Renews Controversial Reality Show (EW)

VH1 has picked up another season of a controversial reality show.’s Inside TV reports that the network gave a second-season order to “Dating Naked.”

The show is at the center of a lawsuit from a contestant who alleges the program showed too much, as we reported previously. Jessie Nizewitz, 28, alleges she didn’t realize she would be shown naked below the waist, as the show was supposed to blur out contestants’ private parts. notes: “Featuring two contestants who each go on three buck-naked dates every episode, the reality series has been averaging one million viewers per episode in season one, which wraps Sept. 25. Six couples have formed throughout season one, one of which will be the focus of the special episode ‘Dating Naked: The Wedding’ on Sept. 18.”

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Sep 16, 2014
1:57 pm

Revamped Daytime Talker ‘The View’ Generates Strong Interest for Premiere, Hits Eight-Year High in Viewers (TVWeek)

Monday’s season 18 premiere of daytime talk staple “The View,” with new faces on board and a new-look studio, generated strong viewer interest. ABC announced that the season premiere scored the show’s best number for a premiere in total viewers in eight years, with 3.902 million viewers.

The show featured the return of Rosie O’Donnell to the lineup, along with newcomers Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace, who joined returning moderator Whoopi Goldberg. The turnout in total viewers was the show’s second-highest premiere total in its history.

The series also posted double-digit increases over its year-ago launch in women 18-49 (683,000 vs. 596,000, up 15%) and women 25-54 (911,000 vs. 761,000, up 20%). Monday’s numbers in both demos also represented three-year highs.

Figures are from Nielsen Media Research and are based on Fast Affiliate Live + Same Day Ratings.

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