Dec 17, 2014
4:05 pm

Sony Pulls Plug on “The Interview.” Why The Movie Used the Name of a Country’s Real Leader (ABC News, TMZ, The Frame)

“As major movie chains moved to pull ‘The Interview’ from their holiday lineups after threats from the Sony Corp. hackers, Sony has decided to shelve the film,” ABC News reports.

The action-comedy movie concerns two guys on a mission to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The story continues, “ ‘In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film “The Interview,” we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release,’ the company said in a statement. ‘We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.’ ”

The story adds, “The moves came shortly after Sony told theaters they do not have to show ‘The Interview,’ after the group claiming responsibility for stealing troves of Sony executives’ emails posted a message on Pastebin apparently threatening attacks on the theaters where the movie will be played, sources said. Actors James Franco and Seth Rogen also canceled all press appearances in light of the threats, a representative for Rogen said.”

The story also notes that “The Department of Homeland Security said the threat is not backed up by any ‘credible intelligence…”

TMZ reported today that “Sony execs are now convinced someone who worked for the studio is behind the massive hacking because no one from the outside could so precisely target the compromising information.

“Multiple sources connected to the studio tell TMZ the strong, prevailing view is that the North Koreans are probably involved, but they used someone with intimate knowledge of the Sony email system to laser in on the most embarrassing information.”

“The Frame,” a program on public radio station KPCC in Los Angeles interviewed “The Interview” screenwriter Dan Sterling on its program that aired on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Here’s an excerpt. The interviewer is the well-respected veteran entertainment reporter John Horn:

John Horn: From the very beginning, was the idea that it would be the real leader [North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who would be named in the film]?

Dan Sterling: It never occurred to me that we would be able to use the real leader’s name. I wrote the script —  without any instructions from anybody — with a fake name. At the time, Kim Jong-Il was the leader of North Korea. I wrote a name called Kim Il-Wan and that was the version that the studio green lit. Once the movie had been green lit, we were having an early pre-production meeting. We agreed in that meeting with the executives, and with Seth [Rogen] and Evan [Goldberg, who co-directed the film with Rogen] there, that I ought to go off and see what happens, try and write a draft with Kim Jong-Un and just see how it looks … As soon as I did it, Seth, Evan and I all knew that this was absolutely the way to go. 

Horn: There was concern, but not resistance from the studio. In other words, they said, “I guess we’re in?” Was there a negotiation about how real this person was going to be?

Sterling: Not at first, but when we got up to Vancouver we were getting towards production. Seth and Evan got a call and the studio said that you guys should change it to something else or shoot it in a way that we can take out that name if we need to. Seth and Evan resisted…

Horn: Resisted as in said no?

Sterling: I wasn’t on the phone conversation, but I think they were pretty firm in their objection to that note, and I think ultimately the studio said, Do what you’ve got to do, I guess. 

To read more about this story we urge you to click on the various links in this item, which will take you to the original articles.


Dec 17, 2014
1:29 pm

Longtime CBS Newsman Dies — He Was the Last of ‘Murrow’s Boys’ (TVWeek)

A longtime CBS News correspondent who was the last living member of “Murrow’s Boys” has died. CBS News released an announcement today saying Richard C. Hottelet died this morning at his home in Wilton, Conn. He was 97.

Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and executive producer of “60 Minutes,” said in a statement: “Richard C. Hottelet was the ultimate CBS News reporter. He was one of the true gentleman reporters, a real ‘Murrow boy,’ an elegant combination of reporter and storyteller.”

The group known as Murrow’s Boys is credited with setting the standard for broadcast journalism, going back to their World War II reports for CBS radio under the direction of Edward R. Murrow.

“The other ‘Murrow’s Boys’ — and one woman — all of whom reported from Europe in World War II, are: Mary ‘Marvin’ Breckinridge Patterson, Cecil Brown, Winston Burdett, Larry LeSueur, Charles Collingwood, William Downs, Thomas Grandin, Eric Sevareid, William L. Shirer and Howard K. Smith,” CBS News notes.

Please click here to read a detailed account of Hottelet’s career in the full announcement from CBS News.

richard hottelet

Richard C. Hottelet

Dec 17, 2014
1:21 pm

Actor Stephen Collins Confesses to Sexual Abuse of Underage Girls (People)

In a detailed confession, actor Stephen Collins, known for his role as a minister on the TV show “7th Heaven,” admits to People magazine that he had “inappropriate sexual contact with underage girls,” the publication reports.

“The 67-year-old — who has remained out of the public eye ever since a recording of him confessing to child molestation was released to TMZ — goes into detail about the incidents that occurred over a 20-year time span,” People reports. “In vivid detail, Collins explains how there were three victims from 1973 to 1994, and how ‘I have not had an impulse to act out in any such way’ in the last 20 years.”

We reported last month that the NYPD was aggressively pursuing leads as it investigated molestation allegations against Collins.

In a lengthy statement Collins reportedly provided to People, the actor writes: “Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since. I’ve decided to address these issues publicly because two months ago, various news organizations published a recording made by my then-wife, Faye Grant, during a confidential marriage therapy session in January, 2012. This session was recorded without the therapist’s or my knowledge or consent.”

Collins adds: “On the recording, I described events that took place 20, 32, and 40 years ago. The publication of the recording has resulted in assumptions and innuendos about what I did that go far beyond what actually occurred. As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth.”

stephen collins

Stephen Collins

Dec 17, 2014
1:17 pm

Four Local Stations Among duPont Award Recipients — We Have All the Winners (TVWeek)

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has announced the 14 winners of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, with four local TV stations among the honorees for news investigations.

KPNX 12 News in Phoenix, WFTS-TV in Tampa, WLTX-TV in Columbia and WTSP 10 News in Tampa Bay will all receive duPont Awards.

The announcement notes the ongoing emergence of non-traditional outlets, with Netflix claiming its first duPont Award.

Public broadcasting has traditionally been a powerhouse in the duPonts, and that tradition continues this year with “Frontline” winning two awards.

Please click here to see all the winners in the full announcement from the Columbia Journalism School.

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Dec 17, 2014
11:07 am

TBS Orders Comedy Pilot (THR)

Marking the first pilot order from TBS President Kevin Reilly, the network is moving forward with the comedy “Quality Time,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

The order comes after the network canceled “Men at Work” and “Sullivan & Son,” and as Reilly is said to be looking for edgier material to air on both TBS and sibling TNT, where he also serves as president, the story notes.

“Quality Time,” from “Super Troopers” writers and producers Broken Lizard, is about four college friends who are still immature despite starting to have their own kids. The project is a look at men trying to maintain their previous identities while giving in to fatherhood.

“The comedy was inspired by the Broken Lizard gang who themselves have grown up, gotten married and had children,” the story notes.

Paul Soter, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme and Erik Stolhanske — who make up Broken Lizard — will write and executive produce the pilot, the piece adds.

Dec 17, 2014
9:54 am

Longtime CNN Correspondent Leaving the Network (TVNewser)

A correspondent who has worked at CNN for more than two decades has announced that he’s leaving the network. TVNewser reports that David Mattingly, who has been with CNN since 1992, broke the news on Facebook.

Mattingly wrote that he will be “walking out of the building a better journalist and better person than when I walked in.”

He noted that he’s leaving CNN “to try my hand at something new.” He didn’t disclose what he will be working on next.

Mattingly noted that during his 23 years at CNN, he has worked in 30 countries, 50 states and 6 continents.

david mattingly

David Mattingly

Dec 17, 2014
9:48 am

Sony Cancels ‘The Interview’ Premiere After Threats From Hackers; Theater Chain Says It Won’t Show the Movie (Bloomberg)

After the hackers behind an attack on Sony Pictures threatened violence at theaters, the studio has canceled the New York premiere of “The Interview,” Bloomberg reports.

As previously reported, the hacker group believed to be behind the recent Sony attack threatened a 9/11-style attack on movie theaters showing the movie, which is a fictional story about a U.S. TV crew hired to assassinate North Korea’s leader.

Sony canceled the Dec. 18 premiere at New York’s Sunshine Cinema, Bloomberg notes.

Following the threat, Sony told exhibitors that they may pull the film from theaters. Carmike Cinemas, which owns stakes in more than 2,000 screens, said it won’t show the film, according to the report.

The hackers are trying to prevent distribution of the film, Sony’s attorneys said. Sony will still release the film and will support whatever decision movie theaters make regarding the film, the story adds.

“We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time,” the hackers wrote, referring to movie theaters showing the film. “(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

Bloomberg adds: “The threats against cinemas have broader implications because they typically are located inside or near shopping malls.”

Representatives from Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Holdings didn’t respond to requests for comment, the article notes.

the interview-movie-banner-2014

Dec 17, 2014
9:41 am

President of National Association of Black Journalists Rebuffs Bill Cosby’s Comment That Only the Black Media Will Be Fair to Him (Huffington Post, NY Post, TMZ)

Bob Butler, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists, told The Huffington Post about the Bill Cosby coverage in the press: “I believe reporters have to be neutral and have an open mind when covering a story like this, but being neutral doesn’t mean telling one side of the story. Being neutral means telling both sides. And as far as I can see, reporters have been doing that.”

Butler was responding to a remark Cosby had made to a reporter from the New York Post, when Cosby said: “I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind.”

According to The Huffington Post, Butler had previously told TMZ, “You don’t go easier on a person [of] color. [It's] wrong for journalism period. This is not a color issue, this is a journalism issue … black people happen to be reporters.”

Dec 17, 2014
9:02 am

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Star to Host New Fox Show (EW)

One of the stars of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has landed a new gig as the host of an upcoming Fox show.’s Inside TV reports that Terry Crews will host Fox’s new viral video show “World’s Funniest Fails.”

The unscripted comedy show will feature “epic fail” videos that will be discussed by a panel of celebrities and comedians, who have yet to be named, the piece adds. The show is based on the YouTube channel FailArmy, and will debut Jan. 16 at 8 p.m.

Crews also hosts the syndicated game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

terry crews

Terry Crews

Dec 17, 2014
8:18 am

Starz Series to Return for Second Season (THR)

The premium cable network Starz has picked up one of its series for a second season. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the net will bring back the limited series “The Missing” for a second season of eight episodes.

The first season focused on a man who was wrecked by the abduction of his young son, unable to accept that the boy may be dead, the story notes. The second season will feature a new case, with new characters and a new location, the piece adds.

While casting hasn’t been announced, the second season will again be written and executive produced by brothers Harry and Jack Williams. The series earned critical acclaim, as well as Golden Globe nominations for best miniseries and lead actress for Frances O’Connor.

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