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TVBIZWIRE
Aug 16, 2017
12:34 pm
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Whoa! Apple Set to Spend Serious Money on Original Programming (WSJ, Variety)

Apple appears to be poised to become a major player in Hollywood, with a budget reported at about $1 billion for original TV and film content over the next year.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story today, citing anonymous sources. The Journal story is behind a pay wall, but Variety and others have picked up the story.

The Journal report suggests that Apple could pick up as many as 10 high-end TV series, noting that Apple execs have already begun the process of shopping the agencies for content.

Variety notes that Apple’s hefty budget still falls well short of some of the competition.

“Netflix, the subscription streaming-video leader, plans to spend $7 billion on content next year (up from $6 billion in 2016), while analysts peg Amazon’s spending on programming for Prime Video at around $4.5 billion for 2017,” Variety reports. “Time Warner’s HBO spends around $2 billion per year on content.”

Variety also notes: “Already, Apple has signaled its aims to become a significant Hollywood player with the hiring of Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht — longtime presidents at Sony Pictures Television — in June. The duo behind such hits as ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘The Goldbergs,’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ are tasked with building a slate of world-class content for Apple. And this week the company revealed that it has tapped Matt Cherniss, ex-G.M. of WGN America and Tribune Studios, to head development for the original entertainment group.”

 

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 16, 2017
11:57 am
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Speaking Truth to Power (TVWeek)

In response to the violence over the past weekend in Charlottesville, Va., and the reaction to those events by President Trump, TVWeek Open Mic writer Chuck Ross recalls the words of Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Holocaust survivor who died in July 2016. The piece also examines how some in television have addressed demagoguery — both this week and more than a half-century ago.

Please click here to read Chuck’s piece.

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 16, 2017
10:38 am
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Late-Night Hosts Process Trump’s Reaction to Charlottesville Violence (Washington Post)

Some of the hosts of the major late-night talk shows have been among the most outspoken critics of Donald Trump’s reactions to the violence in Charlottesville, Va.

The Washington Post notes that the tone on Monday night was more serious than usual as television processed the grim developments over the weekend. But by Tuesday night, the focus had shifted to Trump’s series of responses, including his apparent reluctance to criticize the white nationalists and neo-Nazis rallying in Charlottesville.

The Post compiled some of the reactions from CBS’s Stephen Colbert, NBC’s Seth Meyers, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and TBS’s Conan O’Brien. Here’s the clip …

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 16, 2017
9:21 am
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New ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode Leaks — Did HBO Just Hack Itself? (The Mirror, TVWeek)

HBO continues to struggle to keep its megahit “Game of Thrones” under control, but this time the problem appears to be HBO’s own doing.

The U.K. publication The Mirror reports that the upcoming sixth episode of season seven was leaked online for about an hour — long enough for the episode to be ripped and shared. The publication reports that the error apparently was made by HBO Spain, with the episode being made available to Spanish subscribers four days early.

Once the error was noticed the episode was taken offline.

“Footage from the episode was posted on YouTube, Instagram, Twitch and other streaming services, before swiftly being taken down,” the story reports, noting that the episode is now being widely discussed on Reddit.

“It’s not the first time an episode from season 7 has leaked — earlier this month, episode 4 of the fantasy drama, ‘The Spoils of War,’ was widely shared through a Google Drive link despite continued attempt to stop hackers,” the report notes.

The latest leak appears to be unrelated to the recent HBO hack in which “Game of Thrones” scripts were among the material leaked.

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 16, 2017
9:03 am
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Silent Track Becomes an iTunes Hit, for a Reason (AP)

An unusual track has made the top 50 on the iTunes charts. The track, titled “A a a a a Very Good Song,” costs the usual 99 cents but provides a little less than 10 minutes of dead air.

The AP reports that there’s a reason the track has become a hit.

“While the musical quality of the track is debatable, its popularity is due to its simple role: When people plug smartphones into a car, usually the first song alphabetically plays by default,” the story reports. “‘A a a a a Very Good Song’ offers users several minutes of respite.”

The report notes that the track, released last week, is the brainchild of Samir Mezrahi. “While high on iTunes, the song hasn’t made much of a stir on Google Play,” the AP reports.

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 15, 2017
5:57 pm
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Fox News Contributor in Talks for Her Own Show

A longtime contributor and fill-in host for Fox News is reportedly in talks with the cable channel to get her own show. CNN cites a source saying discussions have taken place between the channel and Laura Ingraham.

The report suggests that a possible new show for Ingraham could be part of a larger revamping of the Fox News lineup. Fox wasn’t commenting.

Ingraham has been a paid contributor at the channel since 2007.

“Matt Drudge, who is well-sourced in conservative media circles, spurred intrigue about potential changes when he tweeted this on Monday: ‘FALL PREVIEW: Laura Ingraham’s prime time to shine! After years in the trenches, much deserved,'” CNN notes.

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 15, 2017
5:33 pm
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Screenwriter Who Penned the First Episode of ‘The Simpsons’ Was Never Invited Back — and Explains Why

The screenwriter who got the ball rolling on what became one of the longest-running shows in the history of television was never invited back into the writers’ room. Mimi Pond, who penned the premiere episode of “The Simpsons” way back in the 1980s, offered an explanation during an interview with Jezebel.

According to Pond, she was shut out because she’s a woman — although it took her a while to figure it out.

“I was never invited to be on staff, and I never knew why for the longest time,” she told the publication, adding: “No one ever called me or explained to me or apologized or anything.”

She said she eventually put the pieces together.

“It wasn’t until years later that I found out that Sam Simon, who was the showrunner, didn’t want any women around because he was going through a divorce,” she said. “It had remained a boys’ club for a good long time.”

Pond also said: “I always wind up being the turd in the punchbowl because the show is so beloved and everything, and I’m sorry to burst bubbles but [laughs]. It wasn’t a pleasant experience for me.”

We encourage readers to click on the link above to Jezebel to read the full interview.

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 15, 2017
5:21 pm
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CBS Appears to Be Getting Into the Singing Competition Game

CBS has a project in the works that could end up competing with “American Idol,” “The Voice” and other singing competition shows, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

“The network is developing a singing competition series with manager and producer Scooter Braun, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. CBS declined comment,” the story reports.

The report adds: “The potential series is in the early stages; it’s unclear if the project is based on an original idea or an existing format, though sources say the latter is more likely. Also unclear is if Braun would have an onscreen role or remain behind the scenes as an executive producer.”

The report notes that CBS had a chance to pick up “American Idol” a while back but passed, with the revival instead winding up at ABC. Fox has also recently anted up for a new singing competition, “The Four.”

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 15, 2017
5:07 pm
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Fox News Removes Video Showing Cars Plowing Through Demonstrators

Fox News has reportedly taken down a video from its website that showed cars plowing through demonstrators. The AP reports that Fox said the clip was “inappropriate.”

“The development was part of another fast-moving day Tuesday for media keeping up with the fallout from a violent racial protest over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, including a contentious late-afternoon news conference by President Donald Trump and a deleted presidential tweet,” the AP reports.

The report adds: “The 90-second video had been picked up in January from The Daily Caller, a website co-founded by Fox personality Tucker Carlson. The Daily Caller’s video editor, Mike Raust, wrote when it was posted: ‘Here’s a compilation of liberal protesters getting pushed out of the way by cars and trucks. Study the technique; it may prove useful in the next four years.'”

The video was reportedly reposted on the Fox Nation opinion website.

Noah Kotch, Fox News Digital editor-in-chief, is quoted in the story saying: “The item was inappropriate and we’ve taken it down. We regret posting it in January.”

The development comes after a car drove into a group of counter-demonstrators at a white nationalist rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 people.

TVBIZWIRE
Aug 15, 2017
1:31 pm
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‘NFL on CBS’ Reorganizes Broadcast Lineups — Including a First for the Network

CBS today took the wraps off a reconfigured lineup of broadcast teams for its “NFL on CBS” coverage for the upcoming season, revealing that Beth Mowins will become the first woman to call play-by-play for the network’s NFL coverage.

Mowins will notch the milestone when she teams with new game analyst Jay Feely to call the Cleveland-Indianapolis game on Sept. 24.

The network’s broadcast pairings feature five new teams, led by the new lead announce team of Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson.

James Lofton has also been added as a game analyst.

Assignments are set at the network for “NFL on CBS” preseason games and weeks 1 through 4. Please click here for all the lineups and other details in today’s announcement.

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