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TVBIZWIRE
Feb 19, 2018
9:43 am
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National Anthem Before the NBA All-Star Game Mystifies Many — Decide for Yourself (TVWeek, YouTube)

Moments before Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, an unusual version of the National Anthem was delivered by eight-time Grammy winner Fergie.

Most of the reaction to the pop star’s throaty/screechy cool blues rendition appears to be negative. Uncomfortable laughter could be heard in the audience at the Staples Center, and even some of the NBA stars caught on video during the performance appeared to be either mystified or amused by it — or both.

Here’s the clip …

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 19, 2018
2:48 am
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President Trump Attacks Oprah (Politico, The Hill)

“President Donald Trump on Sunday mocked Oprah Winfrey for her performance on CBS’ ‘60 Minutes,’” reports Politico.

The article continues, “‘Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes,’ he tweeted Sunday night.”

Trump’s tweet continued, “The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!”

The interview Oprah conducted was a follow-up piece with a group of voters in Michigan. “Half of the group had voted for Trump and the other half had not,” notes The Hill.

To see the segment of “60 Minutes” from Sunday night that featured Oprah moderating the interview with the Michigan voters, please click here.

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
5:21 pm
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Daytime Talk Show Canceled

A syndicated daily talk show airing in daytime will be calling it quits after airing for two seasons. Variety reports that NBCUniversal Domestic Television’s “Harry,” hosted by Harry Connick Jr., will continue to tape through September before wrapping it up.

The report quotes a spokesperson for NBCUDT saying: “Harry is a phenomenal talent and it’s been a great partnership working with the Fox Stations and other supportive groups on this truly unique show.”

Variety notes that “Harry” delivered a 0.9 Nielsen average household rating for the week ending Jan. 28, the most recent week for which data is available.

In a statement, Connick said: “I have truly loved doing this show and appreciate your welcoming me into your homes every single day. I’m incredibly proud of the show we produced over the past two seasons. We tried to create a safe place where families could gather to be entertained, uplifted and inspired and where we could celebrate everyday women who work hard to make our world a better place.  I am truly  grateful for the opportunity and will continue to find avenues to uplift our country.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
5:19 pm
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‘Star Trek’ Captain Signs With Country Music Label

One of the key players in the “Star Trek” universe is getting into the country music business. The New York Post’s Page Six reports that William Shatner just signed with Heartland Records Nashville.

Shatner, who has been playing “Star Trek’s” Captain Kirk since the 1960s — he’s now 86 years old — is said to be “currently working on a very special project that will be released later this year,” according to a press release quoted in the story.

Heartland Records says details will be coming soon.

“This isn’t the first musical project to come from the actor. He has released eight previous albums, most recently 2013’s ‘Ponder the Mystery,'” The Post reports. “Shatner also has a close relationship with country music star Brad Paisley and has made cameos in several of his music videos, including ‘Celebrity’ and ‘Online.’”

We encourage readers not to watch the following clip, but felt it was important that you know it exists …

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
5:08 pm
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J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Working With Mattel on New Multiplatform Project

A new multiplatform project is in the works at Bad Robot and Mattel after J.J. Abrams pitched Mattel President and COO Richard Dickson on a project based on “The Beastlies,” Deadline reports. Abrams and Dickson reportedly first discussed the project on the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The project is “the first of several family-friendly world creation original properties,” Deadline notes. “The Beastlies” are the creation of Los Angeles-based sculptor Leslie Levings.

“Dickson unveiled ‘The Beastlies’ in Mattel’s presentation to Wall Street analysts this morning,” Deadline reports. “Neither Dickson nor Abrams would reveal much detail about these bug-eyed colorful creatures or their ‘Beastlies’ mutliplatform rollout plan, but Bad Robot’s position as a content creator in film, TV and digital, and Mattel’s position in building and marketing global consumer products, hints strongly that big things are ahead for these tiny creatures.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
2:43 pm
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Two TV Networks in High-Stakes Battle Over Former NFL Star

One of the biggest NFL stars of the past couple of decades is the focus of a battle between ESPN and Fox. The New York Post reports that both sports operations are eager to put Peyton Manning in the broadcast booth.

The longtime Indianapolis Colts quarterback retired in 2016 after an 18-season NFL career highlighted by Super Bowl championships with both the Colts and the Denver Broncos. Widely considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he holds many of the NFL’s major career records for QBs.

“In an NFL offseason in which ESPN has already considered a total reboot of “Monday Night Football” and Fox added the Thursday night package for billions, Peyton Manning’s decision to possibly enter the TV booth remains the most intriguing storyline,” The Post reports. “Both ESPN and Fox have Manning atop their list to be their primetime game analyst, sources told The Post. Manning has been approached multiple times about becoming a TV analyst since he retired, but has been reluctant.”

Manning has his sights set on an ownership stake in an NFL team, the report notes. But in the interim, he hasn’t ruled out television.

“Before last season, Fox reached out to Manning to see if he would be interested in going into the studio or being a game analyst,” The Post reports. “As he has told all the networks annually, he did not want to become a broadcaster at that time. Fox will try again, but, at this point, it is ESPN that is being far more aggressive.”

After losing Jon Gruden to a lucrative deal to coach the Raiders, ESPN is said to be prepared to “back up the truck” for Manning, the report notes.

“Meanwhile, Manning is the first person Fox wants to talk to about its Thursday night package that it just acquired for a reported $3.3 billion for five years,” The Post adds. “This weekend, Manning is scheduled to drive the pace car at the Daytona 500, which will be televised by Fox. Top Fox executives will be at the event.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
2:21 pm
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Jeffrey Tambor Lashes Out After Being Fired From TV Series

Jeffrey Tambor had plenty to say following his official firing from the series that brought him back-to-back Emmys for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2015 and 2016. Tambor lashed out at Amazon after Amazon Studios announced that Tambor was officially booted from “Transparent.”

“I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me,” Tambor said in a statement released Thursday, after Amazon announced that it had concluded its three-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against the veteran actor.

Tambor’s statement adds: “As I have consistently stated, I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself. I also deeply regret that this ground-breaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.”

As we reported Thursday, “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway commented on Tambor’s firing, praising his two accusers — Van Barnes, Tambor’s former assistant, and Trace Lysette, one of his co-stars — for speaking up about their experiences on the show. At the time the two transgender women came forward back in November, Tambor apologized but also defended himself, insisting that he is not a predator.

Tambor aimed some of his comments in Thursday’s statement at Soloway, expressing disappointment in her for portraying him as someone who would harm the people who worked with him on the show.

“In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon,” Tambor said in the statement. “Therefore, I can only surmise that the investigation against me was deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
12:39 pm
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Olympics Ratings Slide to a 2018 Low

NBC’s ratings for the Winter Games in PyeongChang have been either terrible or terrific, depending on who’s spinning it. A Deadline report today sizes up Thursday’s results in grim terms.

“With a 13.0/22 in metered markets on combined coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network, the Comcast-owned outlet was far off the podium on the first Thursday of the 2018 Winter Olympics,” Deadline reports. “Not only is this a low for these Games, which have slipped repeatedly in the ratings, but last night’s numbers also took a face plant from both Sochi 2014 and Vancouver 2010.”

The Deadline report follows a cheerful announcement from NBC about Wednesday’s ratings, which the network called the “most dominant Winter Games Wednesday night since Nancy and Tonya in 1994.” You can click here to read the full press release issued Thursday by NBC.

Today’s Deadline report adds: “If you take the NBC/NBCSN not-so-happy meal of last night and compare it to the February 13, 2014, first Thursday of Sochi, the 2018 Olympics are down 10% in the early ratings. Four years ago, the Winter Olympics primetime show was only seen on NBC proper (as was the case in 2010). So, trim it to just NBC 2018 vs. NBC 2014 and last night fell 22% from the equivalent night out of Russia, and 32% from the Vancouver Winter Olympics eight years ago.”

The report acknowledges that the PyeongChang games still have a long way to go before they wrap on Feb. 25, but Deadline observes that “day-in and day-out, even with all of NBC’s combos and streaming stats, a trend is emerging — and it’s downward.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
10:47 am
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Ronan Farrow Story in the New Yorker Details Alleged Donald Trump Affair With Playboy Model

“President Trump’s political troubles with alleged extramarital affairs deepened Friday with publication of new details of his reported sexual relationship with a former Playboy model,” The Los Angeles Times reports, following the publication today by the New Yorker of a report by Ronan Farrow on the alleged affair.

In handwritten notes accompanying the story, “Karen McDougal, Playboy’s 1998 Playmate of the Year, recalled having sex with Trump in 2006, a few months after his wife Melania gave birth to their son, Barron,” The Times reports.

According to McDougal’s notes, Trump and McDougal met at a pool party at the Playboy Mansion, where Trump was taping an episode of his NBC reality show “The Apprentice.”

“The New Yorker article, citing previously undisclosed texts, emails and legal records, elaborates on a Wall Street Journal report in 2016 about a deal requiring McDougal to keep quiet about the alleged affair,” The Times notes. “It included a $150,000 payment to McDougal from American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, which never printed her story about Trump. David Pecker, chairman and CEO of AMI, is a close friend of the president.”

McDougal reportedly said she was speaking out in part because of the #MeToo movement. She’s quoted in the New Yorker piece saying: “Every girl who speaks is paving the way for another.”

A White House spokesperson told the New Yorker that Trump “never had a relationship with McDougal.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
10:37 am
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Jimmy Kimmel Gets Emotional About School Shooting

Jimmy Kimmel addressed the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in his opening monologue Thursday on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” becoming visibly emotional as he delivered his comments.

Kimmel played clips from Donald Trump’s response to the shooting as part of a plea for action in Washington on the issue of gun safety.

Here’s the clip …

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