Sep 15, 2014
6:00 pm

Heartbreak Video: Local Anchor Reveals On-Air That He’s Going to Die Soon (UPI)

A local anchor in Central Illinois has told viewers that he has only months to live, reports UPI.

The story says that WCIA-TV anchor Dave Benton, 51, “was diagnosed with glioblastoma last November and said it was then treatable as it had pushed on his brain but didn’t penetrate it. He said he was in remission for six months before it returned and is now inoperable. Doctors give him four to six months to live.”

WCIA is a Nexstar CBS affiliate serving the markets of Champaign, Springfield, Decatur and Urbana, Illinois.

Here’s the video:

Sep 15, 2014
5:58 pm
Sep 15, 2014
5:56 pm

Sarah Palin and Family Reportedly Involved in Brawl (ABC News)

Sarah Palin and her family were reportedly at the center of a brawl that erupted at a party, reports ABC News.

Daughter Bristol Palin “was punching [a male partygoer] in the face like six times; it was an assault if I’ve ever seen one,” said one guest, Eric Thompson. The incident reportedly happened at a birthday party in Anchorage on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Sarah Palin, husband Todd and children Bristol, Willow and Track arrived in a stretch Hummer, the story says. The fighting started after that, and the Palin family was reportedly asked to leave after Track Palin allegedly attacked another guest, the piece adds.

“I heard Sarah Palin yell do you know who I am? All of us could not believe it. We thought we were watching an episode of Jerry Springer,” Thompson said.

Palin didn’t mention the alleged incident when she appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” show Thursday, and the family didn’t respond to requests for comment, the piece adds.

sarah palin

Sarah Palin

Sep 15, 2014
5:54 pm

Comedian Says She Was Told CBS Was ‘Not Considering Females’ for Late-Night Role (AP)

A popular comedian who says she was interested in the CBS late-night spot being vacated by Craig Ferguson indicated the network was closed to the idea of a female taking the job. The Associated Press reports that Kathy Griffin told the news service she was interested in the position, but was told her gender disqualified her.

“I was interested in the Ferguson spot long before it was announced because I had a feeling things might shift,” Griffin said. “My joke phrase is, ‘I can start Monday.’”

She said an executive, who wasn’t named nor his or her role identified, said, “They’re not considering females at this time.”

Griffin said she replied, “You realize that’s illegal to say in a business meeting?”

She added that when she said the lack of female hosts was “embarrassing,” since women make up half the population, she was told, “Well, you have ‘The Talk,’” referring to the daytime talk show, which features five co-hosts.

“While the rest of TV catches up to diversity, with fictional portrayals daring to imagine women as U.S. presidents and mirror the reality of an African-American leader, networks simply are unwilling to roll the dice on either a female or minority in the lofty position of late-night host,” the AP notes.

As we reported previously, the Craig Ferguson spot has been given to British performer James Corden.

kathy griffin

Kathy Griffin

Sep 15, 2014
5:52 pm

Veteran TV Writer and Director, Co-Creator of ‘Barney Miller,’ Dead at 84 (THR)

A longtime television writer, director and producer is dead at 84. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Theodore J. Flicker, who co-created the hit ABC cop sitcom “Barney Miller,” died Friday at his home in Santa Fe.

His wife, Barbara Flicker, told the publication that he had suffered from hypersensitivity pneumonitis. She said she believed the ailment, also known as “hot tub lung,” was brought on by his work with clay as a sculptor.

Just hours before his death, they had attended his art show, during which she said he looked “wonderful, and he felt wonderful, and he just crashed,” the article reports.

Flicker and Danny Arnold co-created the 1975-1982 comedy series “Barney Miller.” He also directed TV shows including “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Mod Squad.”

He received a Writers Guild Award nomination for his screenplay for the 1967 film “The President’s Analyst,” and he also directed and co-wrote the 1964 film “The Troublemaker.”

theodore j. flicker

Theodore J. Flicker
(photo courtesy Barbara Flicker)

Sep 15, 2014
5:50 pm

The Weather Channel May Go Up for Sale (Bloomberg)

The private equity firms that own The Weather Channel may be looking to sell the network, reports Bloomberg.

The owners have talked with investment banks JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group about a possible sale, the story notes, although the network hasn’t yet started a formal process or hired a bank. Its owners are Blackstone Group LP, Bain Capital and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal.

“The private-equity firms are interested in exploring the idea of selling all or part of the company, according to two people familiar with the matter. They also may decide to hold their ownership stakes rather than sell, the people said,” Bloomberg reports.

The network could be sold separately from its weather data, which could also be bought as a stand-alone business. Together, the units have a value of at least $3.5 billion, the story adds.

weather channel-logo

Sep 15, 2014
5:48 pm

‘SNL’ Actress Responds to Being Booted From Weekend Update Chair (Deadline)

The “Saturday Night Live” regular who is being replaced as one of the anchors of the show’s Weekend Update segment says she’s “genuinely happy” about the change. reports that Cecily Strong talked about the move in an Instagram post.

The show announced Sept. 11 that Strong would be replaced by Michael Che, a “Saturday Night Live” writer, as previously reported. Che, who will become the first black co-anchor on the segment, will begin his role when the show returns Sept. 27.

Strong wrote in the post that she’s not upset about the change.

“I don’t see this as me leaving update, just as me being on update in a looser, goofier way that is a lot more fun for me and in a way I think I’m better at. And now I get to do features with the very funny and wonderful Michael Che! No point in being angry or sad for me for something I’m genuinely happy about! Unless you are just a person who enjoys being angry or sad. Then I guess play on, playa,” she wrote.

Strong had co-hosted the segment for the previous two seasons, the story notes.

cecily strong

Cecily Strong

Sep 15, 2014
5:46 pm

Another Tragic September Anniversary (TVWeek)

Besides marking the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, this month marks the one-year anniversary of an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group’s attack on a shopping mall in Kenya, which left 71 people dead and hundreds wounded.

A new HBO documentary, “Terror at the Mall,” which premieres tonight, Sept. 15, examines the siege by Al-Shabaab militants. Please click here to read TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin’s interview with the project’s director, Dan Reed, who also helmed HBO’s Emmy-nominated 2009 documentary “Terror in Mumbai.”

terror at the mall-title

Sep 15, 2014
5:44 pm

‘SNL’ Continues Lineup Changes, Adds New Featured Player (Variety)

The lineup shuffle continues for NBC late-night comedy staple “Saturday Night Live.” After moving comedian Michael Che into one of the “Weekend Update” co-anchor chairs, as we reported last week, the show has added a new featured player.

Variety reports: “Young comedian Pete Davidson will join ‘Saturday Night Live’ as a featured player, a spokeswoman for the program confirmed Monday, bringing into sharper focus the venerable late-night program’s lineup as it prepares to enter its landmark 40th season on the air.”

At 20 years of age, Davidson, a New Yorker, is one of the youngest players in the show’s history, the piece reports, noting that Eddie Murphy was 19 when he made his debut in 1980.

Davidson has been seen on the Fox series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, along with appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

The Variety piece notes: “The ‘SNL’ lineup for the 40th season will be: Vanessa Bayer, Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Colin Jost, Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Kyle Mooney, Jay Pharoah, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson and Sasheer Zamata.”

pete davidson

Pete Davidson

Sep 15, 2014
5:42 pm

ABC Comedy Project Continues the ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ Story — With Two of the Franchise’s Top Stars (THR)

ABC has given a script commitment with a penalty to a project featuring two stars of the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” franchise, Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

The comedy features Chase and D’Angelo playing a married couple, Clark and Ellen Griswold, who are forced to raise their grandchildren, and comes from an original idea from Aaron Kaplan, who is a fan of the “Vacation” movies, the story adds. Brad Copeland of “My Name Is Earl” will write and executive produce the project.

If the comedy makes it on the schedule, it would mark a return to TV for Chase following his departure from NBC’s “Community.” D’Angelo recently guest starred on CBS’s “Friends with Better Lives,” the piece notes.

New Line is rebooting the “Vacation” franchise, with Chase and D’Angelo both having cameos in a new film that will start taping this month, the piece adds. The new film stars Ed Helms as Rusty Griswold, the couple’s grown-up son, and Christina Applegate as his wife.

National Lampoon's Vacation

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