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TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
4:11 pm
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Frontman for Popular Rock Band Dead at 41 (NY Times, YouTube)

The lead singer for a platinum-selling hard rock band died today in the Los Angeles area. The New York Times reports that Chester Bennington, frontman for Linkin Park, is dead at 41.

The paper reports that Bennington’s death is being investigated as a possible suicide in the Palos Verdes Estates section of Los Angeles.

“Mr. Bennington, who was known for his piercing scream and free-flowing anguish, released seven albums with Linkin Park,” The Times reports. “The band’s most recent record, ‘One More Light,’ arrived in May and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. The band was currently on tour and scheduled to play a concert Thursday night in Mansfield, Mass.”

Bennington also fronted the side project Dead by Sunrise, and from 2103 to 2015 became the lead singer for the Stone Temple Pilots after that band broke with frontman Scott Weiland.

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
3:43 pm
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Teaser for 2017 MTV Video Music Awards Pays Tribute to Key Moments in VMAs History (TVWeek, MTV)

MTV has begun the countdown to the 2017 Video Music Awards, which are on track to air Aug. 27. The channel released a new teaser today containing a few choice references to high points from past VMAs.

Among those we caught on a quick run-through were the recurring albino python, a reference to Britney Spears’ iconic performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U” in 2001, and a wedding dress matching the one worn by Madonna in 1984 for her performance of “Like a Virgin.”

Here’s the clip …

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
3:31 pm
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A+E Networks Shakes Up the Executive Ranks (TVWeek)

A+E Networks has just made a number of key moves in the executive offices, including promoting Robert Sharenow to president of programming for A+E Networks. Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A+E Networks, made the announcement.

Additionally, Eli Lehrer returns to A+E Networks as executive VP of programming for History, Paul Cabana is taking on the newly created role of executive VP of Biography and History Digital, and Thomas Moody has been promoted to executive VP of program strategy and acquisitions for A+E Networks.

Sharenow will be working closely with Paul Buccieri, who oversees the business and commercial side of the A+E portfolio.

“Since 2015, Sharenow has served as EVP and General Manager, A&E and Lifetime,” the company noted in its announcement. “In his new role, Sharenow will be responsible for overseeing all content for A&E, Lifetime, History and the entire A+E Networks channel portfolio. Reporting to Sharenow will be Elaine Frontain Bryant, EVP, Programming at A&E; Liz Gateley, EVP, Lifetime, along with Lehrer and Moody.”

Said Dubuc: “Streamlining our portfolio’s creative structure under Rob combined with Paul’s business leadership will allow us to accelerate our creative decisions, deal making and strategies. Together with Elaine, Liz, Tom and now Eli returning home to A+E Networks, Rob’s programming team has a wealth of experience and some of television’s biggest hits in cable under their belts. I look forward to seeing their passion and creativity lead our networks to continued success.”

Robert Sharenow (A+E)

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
3:19 pm
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Key Exec Headed Out at CBS (Variety)

A top CBS Entertainment executive who is currently on leave won’t be returning to the job. Variety reports that head of drama Christina Davis, who is on maternity leave, has opted to leave the network following last month’s arrival of twins.

Davis joined the network in 1997 and has overseen the drama side for CBS Entertainment since 2007.

Variety quotes Davis saying: “My two decades at CBS have been the most rewarding of my life, and I can’t thank Leslie Moonves enough for his leadership and vision. From my first day as a temporary assistant under Nina Tassler, CBS has given me the tremendous opportunity to work with the most talented and dedicated executives, writers, producers and directors in the entertainment industry.”

A replacement for Davis has not yet been named.

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
2:31 pm
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Here’s What ‘Empire’ Star Taraji P. Henson Has Been Up To (TVWeek, Sony Pictures)

Taraji P. Henson, who stars as Cookie on the acclaimed Fox drama series “Empire,” has been working on the side as the title hit woman in the upcoming Sony Pictures release “Proud Mary.”

The studio released the official trailer today, which gives us a good look at how Mary, who works for an organized crime family in Boston, goes about her business.

The movie is directed by Babak Najafi, who directed last year’s “London Has Fallen.”

Check it out …

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
11:59 am
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O.J. Simpson Is Granted Parole (TVWeek)

O.J. Simpson’s request for parole was approved today, with the four commissioners on the parole board in Lovelock, Nev., all voting to grant parole. The decision followed a break of about 30 minutes for deliberations following Simpson’s parole hearing.

The widely covered proceedings were televised live on many broadcast and cable outlets, as we reported separately. The hearing was dubbed by some “the Parole Hearing of the Century.”

Simpson is expected to be released from prison in October. He has served almost nine years on a 2007 armed robbery at a hotel in Las Vegas.

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
11:44 am
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A&E Seizes the Moment on the Day of O.J. Simpson’s Parole Hearing, Announces New O.J. Production (TVWeek)

A&E didn’t come out and say “Carpe diem” in today’s announcement, but the cable channel literally seized the day, announcing a new original O.J. Simpson documentary on the same morning as Simpson’s closely watched parole hearing in Nevada.

“As the country awaits the Nevada Board of Parole’s decision whether or not to grant parole to O.J. Simpson, A&E Network is announcing a two-hour special that analyzes with new details and revelations the case that led to his conviction for armed robbery, it was announced today by Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, A&E Network,” A&E says in today’s press release.

The documentary, “Guilty: The Conviction of O.J. Simpson” (working title), is scheduled to premiere in October 2017 on A&E.

“For the first time, through previously unreleased audio tapes, never-before-seen files and exclusive interviews — including with Judge Jackie Glass and Las Vegas lead Detective Andy Caldwell (retired) — the people who brought Simpson to justice go inside the case and into the mind of O.J. Simpson,” the announcement adds. “The documentary will take viewers back to the scene of the crime in room 1203 at the Palace Station Casino and re-examine the chilling details that led to O.J. Simpson’s verdict.”

Please click here for additional details about the project in today’s full announement from A&E.

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
11:31 am
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Broadcast Drama Series to Wrap (TVWeek, Twitter)

A broadcast drama series will call it quits after one more season. The creator and showrunner of the CW’s “The Originals,” Julie Plec, revealed in a post on her Twitter account that the show’s upcoming fifth season will be its last.

The show is a spinoff of “The Vampire Diaries,” and the news comes one year after the announcement of the end of that series. “The Originals,” which premiered in fall 2013, was renewed about two months ago for its fifth season.

In her Twitter post, Plec wrote: “Ending a show is always bittersweet, but for me, it’s a true blessing to be a part of making that choice. I want each actor to play their last scene as their character, and to put their character to bed with grace and care.”

The series tracks the activities of the family of vampire Klaus Mikaelson, played by Joseph Morgan.

“The Vampire Diaries” (CW)

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
10:44 am
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ABC Officially Announces Host of Its ‘American Idol’ Revival (TVWeek)

ABC announced the host of its “American Idol” reboot this morning, and to no surprise, Ryan Seacrest will return to host the show. Seacrest was a staple of “Idol” during the singing competition’s long run on Fox.

Seacrest, who was widely speculated to be coming back to the show, broke the news today on “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”

In a statement from ABC confirming the news, Seacrest is quoted saying: “It’s genuinely hard to put into words what ‘American Idol’ means to me. I’m so grateful for the show and all the career and life opportunities it’s allowed me to experience. It’s been an incredible journey from day one. To be asked to return this year, at my new home at Disney|ABC, is an honor, if not a bit surreal.”

Please click here to read the full announcement from ABC.

Ryan Seacrest (Disney/ABC)

TVBIZWIRE
Jul 20, 2017
10:17 am
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Special TVWeek Schedule for Friday, July 21 (TVWeek)

TVWeek will not be sending out our usual newsletters this Friday, July 21, 2017, as we will be doing some digital maintenance that day.

The TVWeek.com website will be available as usual, and if important news breaks over the weekend we will send out TVWeek EXTRA alerts as usual.

We will be back to our normal schedule on Monday, July 24.

We appreciate your patience, and wish you a happy weekend.

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