Jan 17, 2017
11:06 am

Dish Drops Gray TV Stations — Which Means the No. 1 or No. 2 Station in More Than 50 Markets Will Be Off the System (TVWeek)

Dish Network has decided to stop carrying all of the TV stations owned and/or operated by Gray Television as of 7 p.m. ET today, Jan. 17, 2017, according to an announcement Monday from Gray TV.

Dish currently carries 99 separate program streams under its carriage agreement with Gray, which is expiring.

Said Kevin Latek, Gray’s Chief Legal and Development Officer: “We are shocked and disappointed to learn that Dish Network has decided to impose yet another blackout on its customers by taking away our stations, which broadcast some of the most highly rated programming on any broadcast or cable channel in their markets.”

Gray’s announcement notes that the company owns the No. 1 or No. 2-ranked television station in more than 50 markets.

“In many of these markets, Gray’s television stations have higher ratings in certain dayparts than every other broadcast station and cable channel combined,” the Gray announcement notes. “Despite the obvious popularity of Gray’s stations, Dish has refused after many months to even begin negotiating carriage terms that are consistent with those that Dish has provided to other broadcasters and cable channels.”

Gray cautioned that the blackout is unlikely to end soon. Please click here to read the full announcement from Gray TV.

Jan 17, 2017
10:09 am

Classic Spy Novel and Movie to Become TV Series (TVWeek)

A classic spy novel that topped the New York Times bestseller list for 32 weeks and spawned a hit feature film is headed to television as a limited series.

The project, “The Spy,” based on John Le Carre’s 1963 book “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold,” is in the works at AMC and the BBC, following up on the collaboration that produced the critically acclaimed “The Night Manager.”

The Cold War novel was adapted into the Richard Burton movie of the same name back in 1965, with Burton nominated for an Academy Award for the role.

Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is on board to write the new project, with Paramount Television, The Ink Factory and Character 7 all behind the series.

Please click here for additional details in the announcement from AMC.

Jan 17, 2017
9:47 am

It’s Another Cancellation Contained Within a Renewal Notice (TVWeek)

The latest TV show to receive good news and bad news within the same announcement is the comedy series “Portlandia,” which received official word from IFC that the show was renewed for its eighth season — but that’s the end of the road.

In the announcement Saturday, IFC said the satirical program, which premiered its seventh season Jan. 5 and is currently airing Thursdays at 10 p.m., will return for its eighth and final season in 2018.

“Portlandia” was created by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and Jonathan Krisel, and is executive produced by “Saturday Night Live” overseer Lorne Michaels.

Please click here to read the full announcement from IFC.

Jan 17, 2017
8:11 am

Actor Dick Gautier Dies — Fans of ’60s TV Will Remember His Iconic Sitcom Role (TVWeek, YouTube)

Actor, comedian and singer Dick Gautier, who had a long career in television that included playing the iconic role of Hymie the Robot on the late ’60s sitcom “Get Smart,” has died.

Gautier died Friday, Jan. 13, in Los Angeles of pneumonia, according to media reports. He was 85.

Gautier appeared in a number of TV guest spots early in his career — “Gidget,” “The Patty Duke Show,” “Bewitched” and others — before landing a steady role on the short-lived sitcom “Mr. Terrific” in 1967. He soon turned up on “Get Smart” as Hymie, and became one of the show’s most popular recurring characters.

He was a series regular on the 1970s Larry Hagman-Diane Baker sitcom “Here We Go Again” before landing the lead role of Robin Hood on the Mel Brooks sendup “When Things Were Rotten.” The show, which also featured Dick Van Patten and Bernie Kopell, aired a single season on ABC in 1975.

Gautier went on to a prolific career as a guest actor with appearances on “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Wonder Woman,” “Happy Days,” “Alice” and many other shows. He later transitioned to voice work and became known to new generations of young fans as the voice of Serpentor on “G.I. Joe” and Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime on “Transformers” in the 1980s along with multiple voice roles on “Foofur,” “DuckTales,” “The New Yogi Bear Show,” “The Smurfs,” “The Addams Family,” “Cow and Chicken” and other animated shows of the ’80s and ’90s.

Here’s a short clip featuring Gautier as Hymie the Robot on “Get Smart” …

Jan 17, 2017
7:44 am

Another Performer Drops Out of Trump Inauguration Event — Out of Respect to a Music Superstar (Rolling Stone, YouTube)

Donald Trump has had another performer cancel on him — and this one’s all about Bruce Springsteen.

Rolling Stone reports that the B-Street Band, a Springsteen tribute band that has been playing almost 200 shows a year since 1980, announced it won’t be appearing as scheduled at the Jan. 19 Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala.

Will Forte, the group’s 63-year-old keyboard player, manager, agent and publicist, indicated that the group became uncomfortable with media reports associating the band with Trump. “There were misleading headlines like, ‘Trump Hires B-Street Band.'” Forte said. “We felt like we were out on our own on an island.”

Rolling Stone adds: “If the B-Street Band pledge allegiance to anyone, it’s Springsteen, who has repeatedly voiced his anger and disgust at the president-elect. (Forte half-jokingly said of the B-Street Band last week, ‘I don’t even know if they have any politics.'”)

Forte said the decision to pull out of the gala was made out of respect to Springsteen.

“We owe everything to [Springsteen] and our gratitude and respect to the band is imperative above all else,” said Forte, adding: “We had to make it known that we didn’t want to seem disrespectful, in any way, shape or form, to Bruce and his music and his band.”

Jan 17, 2017
7:31 am

Video Tribute Tracks Movie Career of Carrie Fisher (YouTube)

A video posted this month provides one of the nicest tributes we’ve seen to actress, author and “Star Wars” icon Carrie Fisher, who died Dec. 27 at the age of 60.

The YouTube video, posted by the Wonderful Actors account, tracks Fisher’s film work from “Shampoo” in 1975 through “Star Wars: Episode VII” in 2016, revealing there’s much more to her career than the gold bikini for which she’s best remembered by many “Star Wars” fans. (For that matter, the gold bikini is seen here too.)

Here’s the tribute clip …

Jan 13, 2017
3:33 pm

‘Quantico’ Star Hospitalized After Mishap on the Set (TMZ, E! News)

The star of the hit ABC drama series “Quantico” was home and “resting comfortably” after being injured on the set and taken to the hospital. E! News reports that Priyanka Chopra was expected to return to work early next week.

A rep for ABC called it a “minor incident” but offered no further details. TMZ.com reported that Chopra suffered a concussion.

“Sources on the set tell us Priyanka was rushed to the ER late Thursday night after she slipped and fell so hard on her head during a stunt, she suffered a concussion,” TMZ reports. “We’re told Priyanka was examined, treated and discharged a few hours later.”

The TMZ report notes that Chopra skipped a promotional event for the show Friday.

Jan 13, 2017
3:01 pm

More ‘Twin Peaks’ Weirdness: New Teaser Offers a Look at Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Cooper — and Keeps Up Showtime’s Oddball Promo Campaign for the Show (TVWeek, Showtime)

Showtime appears to be waging an appropriately quirky promotional campaign for its revival of the quintessentially offbeat series “Twin Peaks.”

Earlier this week we got several seconds of David Lynch — who directed all the episodes of the new series and plays Gordon Cole on the show — eating a doughnut, a surprisingly literal nod to fans of Lynch — guilty as charged! — who might find the director so fascinating that even footage of him eating a doughnut would be interesting to watch. (Click here to see the doughnut-eating clip.)

Several months ago we got a brief clip of composer Angelo Badalamenti playing “Twin Peaks” theme music, which was also weird and appropriate in its own way. You can click here to see the Badalamenti clip.

Today we get our first ominous look at Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Dale Cooper. The clip isn’t all that weird in its own right, but taken in combination with the rest of the material Showtime has been releasing, it does kind of add to the suspense. Check it out …

Jan 13, 2017
2:44 pm

High-Profile Movie Is Being Called 2017’s First Big Flop (LA Times, TVWeek, Paramount)

A movie that was supposed to jump-start business at one of the major Hollywood studios instead appears poised to become “the first major box-office wreck of 2017.” That’s the assessment of Paramount Pictures’ “Monster Trucks” by Ryan Faughnder, writing in The Los Angeles Times.

“The live action-computer animation hybrid, about a teenage boy who befriends a tentacled, gas-guzzling monster in his truck, is on track to gross $8 million to $10 million during its first four days in theaters this weekend — an abysmal result for a movie that cost $125 million to make,” Faughnder writes.

The report notes that “Monster Trucks” was supposed to give a boost to Paramount’s fledgling animation business. But signs of trouble ahead began surfacing months ago.

“The first trailer for ‘Monster Trucks’ released in June became the butt of widespread Internet snark, and reviews from professional critics have been mostly negative,” the report notes. “In an unusual preemptive move, Paramount’s parent company, Viacom Inc., in September disclosed it would take a $115 million write-down ‘related to the expected performance of an unreleased film,’ quickly revealed to be ‘Monster Trucks.’  Studios rarely announce such write-downs before movies are actually released.”

The report quotes Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, saying of “Monster Trucks”: “You knew right after seeing the first trailer that it was going to bomb. I’m surprised ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ doesn’t already have the rights to this.”

“Monster Trucks” appears to be just the latest in a series of disappointments for Paramount. We encourage readers to click on the link above to the L.A. Times to read the full report.

Jan 13, 2017
2:41 pm

Steve Harvey Reveals What His Meeting With Trump Was About (TVWeek, Twitter)

Comedian and “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey met with Donald Trump today at Trump Tower, and after the meeting Harvey posted a message on Twitter explaining what it was about.

Harvey indicated that he was inspired by President Obama to reach out in an effort to help the country move forward. He said he found Trump “both congenial and sincere.”

Harvey also mentioned efforts to help the inner cities and the role Trump ally Dr. Ben Carson might play. Here’s Harvey’s Twitter post …

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