Jan 16, 2018
5:20 pm

Broadcast Drama Series Renewed (TVWeek)

A hit drama series airing on broadcast just received the go-ahead for a new season. Announcing the pickup of its new series “9-1-1” for a second season, Fox today said the show’s premiere episode has grown to more than 15 million viewers in seven-day multi-platform viewing.

The show comes from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear.

The second episode has delivered 11.6 million viewers in three-day multi-platform viewing, along with a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 in L3, Fox noted.

Please click here to read the full announcement.

Jan 16, 2018
4:57 pm

McDonald’s Launches Environmental Initiative (USA Today)

The McDonald’s restaurant chain announced two ambitious environmental goals today that the company says it wants to achieve by 2025.

USA Today reports that the fast food giant aims to have 100% of its consumer packaging come from renewable, recycled or certified sources, and it seeks to have recycling available in all of its restaurants.

At this time, 50% of the company’s customer packaging comes from sustainable sources, while only 10% of the restaurants are recycling.

“The company says it is making this move in response to customer demand and its desire to help reduce waste and have a positive community impact,” USA Today reports.

In a statement, Francesca Debiase, McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer, said: “Our customers have told us that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like us to address.”

USA Today adds: “McDonald’s said it plans to work with local governments and environmental associations on better packaging designs, new recycling programs and employee and customer education plans to reach these goals.”

Jan 16, 2018
4:55 pm

Matt Damon Admits He Messed Up With His Comments on Sexual Harassment, Reveals What He Wishes He Would Have Done Differently (NBC, TVWeek)

Matt Damon admitted that he made mistakes with his recent comments on the subject of sexual harassment, saying during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show, “I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in.”

Damon apologized for his comments, telling Kathie Lee Gifford: “I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say.”

He said many of the women involved in the Time’s Up movement are his friends, and he supports their efforts to change behavior. Noting that he wants “to go along for the ride,” he added, “but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.”

Here’s the clip, posted today by NBC; the discussion of Damon’s sexual harassment comments begins at about the 4:27 mark …

Jan 16, 2018
4:32 pm

Remembering Hall of Fame Broadcaster Keith Jackson (Campus Insider, TVWeek)

Tributes have been pouring in for longtime ABC sportscaster Keith Jackson, a Hall of Fame broadcaster who called college football games for more than four decades. Jackson died Friday at age 89.

Jackson is most closely associated with college football, but covered many sports during his long career, including Major League Baseball, the NBA, auto racing, boxing, golf, the USFL and the Olympics.

Here’s a tribute to Jackson posted by Campus Insider …

Jan 16, 2018
2:49 pm

Golden Globe Winner Becomes Focal Point in Debate Over Sexual Impropriety
(CNN, Babe.net, The Atlantic, Twitter, TVWeek)

Actor and comedian Aziz Ansari, who just won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy, for his Netflix series “Master of None,” has become the focus of heated debate in Hollywood over sexual behavior.

The debate follows the publication over the weekend of an essay detailing allegations by a woman who went on a date with Ansari only to be pressured by Ansari to have sex with him, as she describes it. The website Babe.net published the lengthy piece, which provides a detailed account of the date based on the woman’s recollections.

“I believe that I was taken advantage of by Aziz,” the woman, who is not named in the report, tells the publication. “I was not listened to and ignored. It was by far the worst experience with a man I’ve ever had.”

Ansari, who has been vocal about his support for the #MeToo movement, released a statement after the Babe.net report began receiving attention. In his account of the date, Ansari says: “We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual.”

Ansari adds: “The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed okay,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”

CNN reports that supporters have been lining up on both sides of the issue.

“Some are saying the allegations against Ansari [weaken] the #MeToo movement,” CNN reports. “The other side: This is the kind of conduct that has given rise to movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp and that just because it happens a lot doesn’t make it right.”

In The Atlantic, writer Caitlin Flanagan goes after both Ansari’s accuser and the writer of the Babe report, Katie Way.

“The clinical detail in which the story is told is intended not to validate her account as much as it is to hurt and humiliate Ansari,” Flanagan writes. “Together, the two women may have destroyed Ansari’s career, which is now the punishment for every kind of male sexual misconduct, from the grotesque to the disappointing.”

Another person critical of Ansari’s accuser is Bari Weiss, a staff editor and writer for the New York Times’ opinion section. She says, in a Times op-ed piece, that the account told by Ansari’s accuser in the Babe report is “arguably the worst thing that has happened to the #MeToo movement since it began in October. It transforms what ought to be a movement for women’s empowerment into an emblem for female helplessness.”

Los Angeles Times opinion contributor Jamil Smith added his voice to the other side of the debate, sending out a tweet in which he wrote of Ansari: “From the described events, he appears to have no understanding whatsoever of sexual consent. Nor do his defenders, it seems. It is appalling to see some shift attention away from his coercive and violative acts.”

Feminist author and speaker Jessica Valenti, has also been tweeting on the subject — you can read one of her tweets below …

Jan 16, 2018
1:57 pm

Late-Night Show Renewed (TVWeek)

A late-night series running on cable has been given a renewal. Receiving a pickup for a 20-episode second season is Comedy Central’s “The Jim Jefferies Show.”

Making the announcement was Comedy Central President Kent Alterman.

“You’d think I’d stop being surprised at how smart and funny Jim is about everything,” Alterman said. “I’m just glad we’re still giving visas to people from whatever shithole country he comes from.”

Added Jefferies: “We have great things planned for this season including field pieces in Europe and Israel that I’m recording right now. I have missed being on air during the hiatus but luckily the president hasn’t said or done anything stupid worth talking about.”

The series is executive produced by Jefferies, Scott Zabielski, and Brillstein Entertainment Partners’ Alex Murray and Tim Sarkes.

“The weekly, late night series features the Australian comedian’s unapologetic, honest and international approach to culture and politics,” Comedy Central notes in the announcement.

“The Jim Jefferies Show” is currently nominated for a Writers Guild Award in the Comedy/Variety Talk Series category.

Jan 16, 2018
1:39 pm

Singer Denies Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Amid Criminal Investigation (Billboard, TMZ)

A well-known singer who is under criminal investigation for alleged sexual battery is vehemently denying the allegations.

Billboard reports that Seal is denying allegations against him by actress Tracey Birdsall. The report notes that Seal is under investigation in connection with an incident that reportedly took place at his home in November 2016.

“Birdsall told TMZ that she and the singer were neighbors in Los Angeles at the time and they developed a close friendship,” Billboard reports. “The ‘Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter’ star says she went to Seal’s house to retrieve a salad spinner when he allegedly lunged at her, forcing himself on her and attempting to kiss her as she shouted, ‘What are you doing?,’ to which he reportedly replied, ‘I’m kissing you!’ After allegedly making fun of her outfit — a tank top and shorts — Birdsall says Seal tried to grope her breasts as she again demanded he stop.”

The Billboard report adds: “She says she left and has not spoken to Seal again, but decided to come forward after she saw Seal’s comments last week about Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech and his support for Harvey Weinstein accusers, in which he encouraged women to share their stories of sexual misconduct and assault.”

The report cites a spokesperson for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Office, who confirmed that the Lost Hills/Malibu sheriff’s station recently took a report from an unnamed victim.

“A release from the sheriff’s office issued Tuesday (Jan. 16) says that deputies responded to a ‘neighbor disturbance’ call in Malibu on Saturday, at which point they determined that there was no disturbance at the location at the time but instead took a victim report from an unnamed complainant who said she had been the victim of sexual battery,” Billboard reports. “Seal was identified as the suspect, and a spokesperson said the investigation is ongoing but that no additional information was available at press time.”

A spokesperson for Seal released a statement saying: “Seal vehemently denies the recent accusations made against him by a former neighbor for alleged misconduct of more than a year ago. He intends to vigorously defend himself against these false allegations.”

Jan 16, 2018
1:09 pm

Daytime Show Renewed (TVWeek)

A popular daytime talk show has just received the green light for a new season. Announcing the renewal today of “Pickler & Ben” for season two, Cater Lee, vice president of programming for Scripps, said: “Kellie and Ben are a breath of fresh air in the daytime space, and audiences have loved watching them bring this fun, dynamic show to life.”

The Nashville-based show is hosted by country music star Kellie Pickler and Emmy Award-winning television personality Ben Aaron.

“Recorded in front of a live studio audience, ‘Pickler & Ben’ features the best in lifestyle and entertainment,” the company said in today’s announcement. “In its first season, which debuted Sept. 18, 2017, ‘Pickler & Ben’ has featured a roster of celebrity guests including Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Molly Sims, Christian Siriano, Cat Cora, Reba McEntire, Duff Goldman, Ty Pennington and more.”

Added Lee: “The creators’ vision that a show originating from Middle America would appeal to viewers everywhere was spot on, and we are seeing that in just a few months it is already outperforming many long-established talk shows in key demos and on social media. I am delighted that we are recommitting for a second season.”

“Pickler & Ben” is produced by Faith Hill; co-founder of Happy Street Entertainment, Lisa Erspamer; and president and CEO of Sandbox Entertainment Jason Owen, in partnership with Scripps. Award-winning director Joe Terry (“The Oprah Winfrey Show”) directs, with Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution distributing the show in national syndication.

Jan 16, 2018
1:07 pm

NASCAR Star Gets His Marching Orders From NBC (AP, TVWeek)

NBC Sports today revealed how it will begin to use one of its latest acquisitions, assigning recently retired NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. to work the pregame show before the Super Bowl.

The son of seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt will then be sent to South Korea to help out with NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics.

Earnhardt is set to begin his regular NBC Sports job as an analyst in July.

The popular driver, who retired from racing in November, told the AP that even though he has never been to a Super Bowl or South Korea, “It’s not going to be putting me anywhere outside of my comfort zone.” Earnhardt explained: “What they are asking me to do is just go out there and be myself and hopefully get people interested in tuning into NASCAR.”

“NBC plans to use Earnhardt at the Super Bowl in outdoor events and activities taking place in Minneapolis in the days before the game,” the AP notes. “At the Olympics, he’ll visit the speed skating venue and accept a recent social media invite from American bobsled team pilot Nick Cunningham to ride in a bobsled.”

Said Jim Bell, president of NBC Olympics Production and Programming: “We can’t wait to get Dale’s take on what is one of the most compelling aspects of the Winter Games — sports that offer a mix of speed with the prospect of danger, an equation that he knows very well.”

Jan 16, 2018
1:01 pm

Why More Than 20 States Are Suing the FCC (Washington Post)

“Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia filed the first major lawsuit Tuesday to block the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules,” The Washington Post reports. “Those rules had prohibited Internet providers from slowing down or blocking websites.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading the suit. The report notes that Schneiderman called the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality “arbitrary” and “capricious,” and said it violates federal law.

“The multi-state lawsuit comes just a day after Democrats in the Senate said they were inching closer to the votes needed for a legislative measure to help overturn the FCC’s rules,” The Post adds. “The resolution aims to reverse the FCC’s decision and block the agency from passing similar measures in the future.”

The resolution reportedly has the support of all 49 Democratic senators along with one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

“Tuesday’s lawsuit, which includes California, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Illinois, seized on that momentum and represents another avenue for supporters of the net neutrality rules to undo the repeal,” The Post reports. “The net neutrality rules were dismantled in a December vote led by Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Republicans had argued that the existing rules stymied industry investment, while Democrats maintained that they served as a vital consumer protection.”

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