May 31, 2016
10:47 am

Controversy: Was Slain Gorilla Trying to Protect a 3-Year-Old Boy? Incident Captured on Dramatic Video (NY Post, TVWeek)

A 420-pound gorilla was shot and killed after a young boy fell into its habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo, and the incident sparked controversy as some witnesses said the silverback gorilla was trying to protect the youngster.

Portions of the incident were captured on cellphone video, which you can see below.

The video shows the 3-year-old boy being dragged by the ankle as the great ape, Harambe, moves around the habitat. The animal then appears to stand guard over the boy.

“Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard defended the killing of Harambe, saying at a news conference that the creature had the strength of six men and was acting ‘erratically,'” The New York Post reports.

The boy’s family released a statement saying: “We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. … He is home and doing just fine.”

May 31, 2016
10:20 am

Monster Ratings for Game 7 of NBA Conference Finals — NBA’s Highest-Rated Game Ever on Cable (TVWeek)

Viewers turned out in droves for a dramatic Game 7 in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals as the Golden State Warriors completed a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to overcome the Oklahoma City Thunder and advance to the NBA Finals.

SportsBusiness Daily’s Austin Karp first reported on Twitter that Monday’s game delivered an 11.2 household rating for TNT in metered market overnights, with Turner Sports later confirming the number.

Golden State, paced by two-time MVP Stephen Curry’s 36 points, rallied to win the game 96-88 after trailing by double digits. The win set up a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals between the Warriors and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Finals tip off Thursday night on ABC. Last year’s NBA Finals reportedly averaged more than 19.9 million total viewers.

Here are some highlights from Monday’s Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals …

May 31, 2016
10:01 am

Spike TV Names Its First ‘Athlete of the Decade’ (TVWeek)

Spike TV has named its first “Athlete of the Decade,” with the award going to legendary Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant. The award will be presented at the 10th annual “Guys Choice” awards.

The ceremony takes place Saturday, June 4, at Sony Pictures Studios, with the telecast to premiere Thursday, June 9, on Spike.

“By any measure, Kobe Bryant is a sports legend who exemplifies athletic excellence, world-class sportsmanship and stands as one of the greatest to have ever played the game,” said executive producer Casey Patterson. “Guys Choice is thrilled to be honoring Kobe’s remarkable and now legendary 20-year career in basketball.”

The announcement adds: “Throughout his illustrious 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant personified the highest level of excellence. The 5-time NBA World Champion, 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist and 2008 MVP electrified a generation with his basketball brilliance.”

Bryant retired at the end of the recently concluded NBA regular season. Here are some highlights from his final game …

May 31, 2016
9:48 am

Netflix Orders New Comedy From the Creator of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and ‘Weeds’ (Deadline)

The creator of the Showtime series “Weeds” and the Netflix hit “Orange Is the New Black” has received an order for a new Netflix series.

Deadline.com reports that the streaming service placed a 10-episode order for “G.L.O.W.,” about the 1980s female wrestling league Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, from Jenji Kohan and “Orange Is the New Black” co-executive producer Tara Hermann.

“Created by Liz Flahive (‘Homeland’) and Carly Mensch (‘Orange Is the New Black’), ‘G.L.O.W.’ was inspired by the real story of the 1980s female wrestling league,” Deadline reports. “Set in Los Angeles and showcasing big hair and body slams, the series tells the fictionalized story of an out-of-work actress who finds one last attempt to live her dreams in the form of a weekly series about female wrestlers.”

Flahive and Mensch will be the showrunners and will executive produce along with Kohan and Herrmann, the report notes.

Here’s a look back at the kitschy ’80s series based on G.L.O.W. …

May 31, 2016
9:08 am

Series That Has Been an Awards Juggernaut Gets Green Light for New Season (TVWeek)

A series that has won multiple Golden Globes and Emmy Awards has been greenlighted for season four. Amazon announced today that it is moving forward with a new season of “Transparent.”

Core cast members Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”), Judith Light (“Dallas”), Gaby Hoffmann (“Girls”), Amy Landecker (“Louie”) and Jay Duplass (“Togetherness”) are all returning. Series creator Jill Soloway will remain as showrunner, with Andrea Sperling to return as executive producer.

The show’s fourth season will bow on Amazon Prime in 2017.

Said Joe Lewis, head of half-hour TV at Amazon Studios: “As the quality of television rises to new heights, ‘Transparent’ continues to stand out for its depth of character, compassionate storytelling and its infinite creative risk-taking. We’re grateful that customers have responded so enthusiastically to the Pfefferman family and we’re excited to bring them another chapter of their story.”

Soloway added: “Amazon’s explosive freedom and revolutionary thinking has given birth to this show. It’s so much more than TV to us, it’s our version of the most ambitious streaming art we can conjure. We’re having the time of our lives sharing season two for the awards season hoopla, and editing and finishing up season three for a fall release. This news of an order for season four is so so sweet. The Pfeffermans have many more stories to tell and we can’t wait to keep making them.”

“Transparent” received 11 Primetime Emmy nominations last year and won five trophies, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Tambor and Outstanding Directing for Soloway. Also in 2015, the show won Golden Globes for Tambor and for Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical.

It is nominated again this year in both Golden Globes categories, along with a nod for Light for Supporting Actress.

transparent amazon“Transparent” (Amazon)

May 31, 2016
8:49 am

Report: Why Disney Executives Are in a Panic Over Upcoming ‘Star Wars’ Movie (NY Post)

An upcoming “Star Wars” movie is said to be in crisis, with the New York Post’s Page Six reporting that “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will be reshooting over the summer.

“The much-anticipated ‘Rogue One’ is due for release on Dec. 16, but we’re told bosses at Disney are not fully satisfied with the first cut from director Gareth Edwards,” the story reports.

The piece quotes an unnamed Hollywood source saying: “The execs at Disney are not happy with the movie, and ‘Rogue One’ will have to go back into four weeks of expensive reshoots in July.”

“Rogue One,” the “Star Wars” franchise’s first spinoff film, stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn and Forest Whitaker. It will “take us back in time to a point between Episodes III and IV. The plot reportedly sees resistance fighters embark on a daring mission to steal the plans for the Death Star before it can be used to enforce the Emperor’s cruel rule,” the story reports.

The report notes that Edwards, who has a reputation as a risk taker, likes to keep the studio’s influence to a minimum. The source is quoted saying: “Disney won’t take a back seat, and is demanding changes, as the movie isn’t testing well.”

star wars-logo

May 31, 2016
7:51 am

One of the Most Influential TV Executives Ever Dies at 94. The Shows Mike Dann Put On-Air Range From ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ to ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ From ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’ to ’60 Minutes’ (NY Times, TVWeek)

Michael Dann, an influential television executive who shaped the broadcast landscape of the 1950s and 1960s, has died. The New York Times reports that Dann died Friday at his home in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 94.

Dann was responsible for bringing shows including “The Defenders,” “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “60 Minutes,” “Hee Haw” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” to television.

At CBS, Dann became associated with a string of rural comedies — “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Green Acres,” “Petticoat Junction” — that helped earn the Tiffany Network a second nickname, the Hillbilly Network. He reportedly preferred higher-brow programs such as “CBS Playhouse,” but liked the ratings that the low-brow programming delivered.

Dann is quoted in Electronic Media, which later became TVWeek, saying in 2002: “By and large I operated under a principle I was trained in, and that was that there was no such thing as a good program executive with low-rated shows or a bad program executive with high-rated shows, and I never changed my position as long as I was working in the commercial networks.”

The Times notes: “Mr. Dann began his television career at NBC, where he worked alongside Pat Weaver as he transformed the network and created such innovative programs as ‘Today’ and ‘Tonight.’ At CBS, where he rose to become head of programming in 1963, he proved an astute judge of audience appeal, a master of scheduling and a shrewd marketer.”

May 31, 2016
7:32 am

Poland Tries to Extradite Roman Polanski to the U.S. (NY Times)

Celebrated filmmaker Roman Polanski, who fled California after being convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, is the focus of a renewed effort by the Polish government to extradite him to the U.S.

The announcement today is a setback for the director of “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” after a ruling last fall appeared to put his legal problems to rest.

“On Oct. 30, a judge in Krakow, Poland, ruled that turning over Mr. Polanski would be an ‘obviously unlawful’ deprivation of liberty and that the state of California was unlikely to provide humane conditions of confinement for the filmmaker, who is 82,” The New York Times reports. “The next month, the Krakow prosecutor’s office said it would abide by the judge’s ruling.”

But Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who is also Poland’s chief prosecutor, released a statement today saying he would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Polanski, who was married to actress Sharon Tate when she was murdered by members of the Manson Family in 1969, has remained out of the country since he fled the U.S. in 1977.

May 31, 2016
6:31 am

Rapper Charged With Attempted Murder (TVWeek)

A rapper was formally charged and ordered held without bail until trial in connection with a shooting at a concert last week in New York.

The New York Times reports that Troy Ave was charged Monday evening with attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon. The shooting backstage at a T.I. concert at Irving Plaza left one person dead and three others wounded.

“Appearing in court in a wheelchair, Troy Ave, 33, whose real name is Roland Collins, asked the judge for $50,000 bail through his lawyers, who stressed that he had no criminal record,” The Times reports. “But Judge Ushir Pandit-Durant heeded a prosecutor’s recommendation and ordered him held without bail until trial.”

Ronald McPhatter, a bodyguard for Collins, died in the shooting, in which Collins was shot in his leg.

The report adds: “The criminal complaint against Mr. Collins shed little light on what happened backstage. Detective John Santiago, who swore out the complaint, charged Mr. Collins with attempted murder entirely on the strength of a security camera video that showed a man the police identified as Mr. Collins firing a weapon.”

May 27, 2016
2:53 pm

‘Glee’ Actor Indicted On Child Porn Charges, Faces 20 Years In Prison (Deadline.com)

One of the actors who appeared regularly on “Glee” faces time in prison “after he was charged today in a federal indictment for receiving and possessing child pornography on his laptop computer and a flash memory drive,” reports Deadline.com.

The actor, Mark Salling, “best known for his role as Noah Puckerman on the Fox show, was named in a two-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury,” the story says.

The article also says, “The charge of receiving child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years. The possession charge also carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years.”

The story adds that “The images and videos in both instances depicted young girls.”

To read more about this story, please click here, which will take you to the Deadline article

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