May 24, 2017
5:13 pm

Hannity Lashes Out at ‘Liberal Fascism’ as Sponsor Drops His Fox News Show (AP)

Fox News Channel fixture Sean Hannity is lashing out at a media watchdog group he accuses of “liberal fascism” in targeting advertisers on his show, the AP reports. The move comes as one advertiser, Cars.com, has pulled its ads from the show.

The scrape is part of the fallout for Hannity over a discredited story about a murdered Democratic National Committee chairman, the AP notes. Hannity has said he would no longer discuss the story.

“On Wednesday, Hannity sent a steady stream of tweets that targeted Media Matters for America, the liberal lobbyists who a day earlier had posted a list of his show’s advertisers on its web site,” the AP reports. “Targeting a show’s advertisers is a potent line of attack in television; the swift abandonment of Bill O’Reilly’s advertisers last month after the revelation of settlements paid to women to quiet harassment charges was widely considered a factor in his firing by Fox.”

Hannity tweeted that Media Matters was “targeting my advertisers to silence my voice,” and added: “They hope to get me fired. Rush (Limbaugh), O’Reilly, (Glenn) Beck, (Don) Imus and now me.”

May 24, 2017
5:03 pm

Why HBO Scrapped Jon Stewart’s Latest Project (NY Times)

Jon Stewart’s post-“Daily Show” career has suffered a setback with HBO confirming this week that it has scrapped his much-talked-about animation project.

Stewart came aboard at HBO in late 2015 with a deal to create digital shorts for apps such as HBO Now and HBO Go, The New York Times reports.

“But 18 months after signing the deal, the two have agreed to shelve it, saying that the project was significantly more complicated than both sides expected. Mr. Stewart signed a four-year contract, and he will remain at HBO to pursue other efforts,” The Times reports.

In a statement, HBO said: “HBO and Jon Stewart have decided not to proceed with a short form digital animated project. We all thought the project had great potential, but there were technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material. We’re excited to report that we have some future projects together, which you will be hearing about in the near future.”

May 24, 2017
4:51 pm

Writers Guild Ratifies New Contract (AP)

“Members of the Writers Guild of America have overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract with television and film producers,” the AP reports. “The guild announced Wednesday that the new agreement passed by a 99 percent margin, with only 30 members voting no out of nearly 3,650 ballots cast.”

The new contract, which resulted from an 11th-hour deal as the threat of a strike loomed, will remain in effect until May 2020.

“The guild has said it won gains across the board, including contributions to the union’s health plan and better pay for series with fewer episodes,” the report notes.

May 24, 2017
4:34 pm

Playboy Centerfold Cops Plea in High-Profile Fat-Shaming Case (AP, TVWeek)

In a case that generated headlines worldwide and could spark changes in privacy laws, nude model Dani Mathers pleaded no contest today to misdemeanor invasion of privacy.

The AP reports that the plea in Los Angeles County Superior Court comes after Mathers sparked outrage last July by posting a photo on Snapchat of a naked 71-year-old woman in the locker room at an L.A. gym.

The post included the comment: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

Mathers, Playboy’s 2015 Playmate of the Year, said she intended to send the photo privately but accidentally made it public. She was ordered today to clean up graffiti as punishment in the case.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who pressed the case against Mathers, has sponsored legislation since the case originated in an effort to enhance the existing privacy invasion law by adding penalties for distributing partially or fully nude images without consent, the AP reports, noting that the bill passed the state Senate this week.

“Under terms of the plea, Mathers will be on probation for three years and must not take photos or video of people or post them online without their permission and can’t have a camera in places where people are naked or expect privacy,” the report notes.

Mathers, 30, has previously apologized for the incident, which took place at an LA Fitness gym. She has reportedly been banned from all LA Fitness gyms.

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
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
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
12:31 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
12:17 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
12:09 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.

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