Jul 30, 2015
10:28 pm

Comcast’s NBCU Reportedly Has ‘a handshake agreement’ to Make a $250 Million Investment in Hot Digital Publisher (re/code)

In a bid to “tap into millennial audiences,” Comcast’s NBCU will invest $250 million in a digital publishing company, report Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka at re/code.

Says the story, “Sources say Comcast’s TV and film unit has a “handshake” agreement with BuzzFeed, which raised $50 million last year at a $850 million valuation. NBCU also is negotiating to invest in Vox Media, which owns this website, in a deal that would value Vox at $850 million. Last fall Vox Media raised money at a $380 million valuation.”

The story notes that one of the entities Vox Media owns is re/code.

Write Swisher and Kafka, “People familiar with the proposed deals say they’re part of a new effort from NBCU CEO Steve Burke to bet on digital outlets he thinks can tap into millennial audiences, who are tuning out of NBCU’s TV networks and most others. The idea is that NBCU can get a crash course on digital content and distribution from its new investments — and that those companies may want to distribute some of NBCU’s content as well.”

To read more about this item, we urge you to click here, which will take you to the original re/code story.

Jul 30, 2015
10:20 pm

Fox Cancels Series (EW; Deadline; Variety)

Fox has canceled a series that was hosted by one of the most popular hosts in TV history.

After only two episodes, “Fox has axed ‘Knock Knock Live’—Ryan Seacrest’s highly mock-able reality show that sends a quiz team to everyday Americans’ homes (while Seacrest hosted from the comfort of a studio),” reports our friend James Hibberd on the website of Entertainment Weekly.

Seacrest, of course, has been the popular host over the run of “American Idol.”

Adds Deadline.com, “A one-hour encore of ‘The Last Man On Earth’ is set to air in its Tuesday 9 PM time slot next week, and encores of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and ‘Last Man On Earth’ will fill the spot going forward.”

Notes Variety, ”The July 21 premiere episode [of ‘Knock Knock Live’] averaged a 0.5 rating in 18-49 and 1.7 million viewers overall, marking the smallest demo rating for any Big Four series premiere this summer.”

Jul 30, 2015
10:01 pm

L.A. to be First City in the Country to Get New Kind of Whole Foods Market. Rolling Out to Other Cities After That. It’s Our Non-TV Story of the Day (LA Times)

Whole Foods, “The Austin, Texas-based [grocery] chain said the first of its new 365 by Whole Foods Market  stores will open next year in [the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles], setting up a potential showdown with rival Trader Joe’s,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Times says, “The 365 stores have been touted as a smaller shopping experience with more competitive prices than the traditional Whole Foods markets. John Mackey, company co-chief executive, said the intent is to expand the company’s reach to customers who may have thought Whole Foods prices were too high.”

For years Whole Foods as been referred to by many members of the public – only half-jokingly — as “Whole Paycheck.”

The article notes, “Four other 365 by Whole Foods Market stores will be opened in Santa Monica; Bellevue, Wash.; Houston; and Portland, Ore., in the second half of 2016. The company said it plans to double the number of 365 store openings in 2017.”

Jul 30, 2015
1:11 pm

TV Legend Valerie Harper Hospitalized (ET Online)

Actress Valerie Harper, a television legend known for her roles as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spinoff “Rhoda,” was hospitalized Wednesday night after experiencing a health emergency backstage at a theater performance.

Media reports offered few details of the nature of the incident, with ET Online quoting a source close to the situation saying, “It doesn’t look good.”

The 75-year-old Harper, who has been battling terminal brain cancer, was taken away by an ambulance during a performance of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” at the Ogonquit Playhouse in Maine.

“The fire department confirms to ET that they received a call at 8:56 p.m. about an unconscious 75-year-old female backstage, and that she was taken to York Hospital,” ET reports. “According to Ron Corning, anchor and correspondent at ET’s affiliate in Dallas WFAA, around 9:40 p.m., the artistic director of the musical announced to the audience that the ambulance seen on the side of the lawn was for the 75-year-old actress, and that she had fallen ill and wouldn’t be performing.”

The director is quoted telling the audience: “She wants all of you to know after some fluids and rest she hopes to be right back here on stage later this week.”

The playhouse issued a statement today in which it said Harper is “resting comfortably” and would remain in the hospital for observation.

Harper is a Golden Globe winner and four-time Emmy winner for her performances as Rhoda, winning three consecutive Emmys during her run on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the early 1970s and claiming another one for the spinoff. She was nominated for a total of eight Emmys for playing Rhoda.


Jul 30, 2015
1:01 pm

Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart’s Replacement as ‘Daily Show’ Host, Opens Up About Racism, the Twitter Controversy … and How He Will Be Different From Stewart (TVWeek)

With just weeks to go before he steps into Jon Stewart’s high-profile seat as host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah received an immersive introduction to TV critics this week in two appearances at the TCA Summer Press Tour.

In a stand-up performance Tuesday night, and again at a panel presentation Wednesday, Noah talked about racism, terrorism and a Twitter controversy that erupted after he was named as Stewart’s replacement. He also talked about how “The Daily Show” will be different after the transition.

TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin was on hand to provide in-depth coverage of Noah’s appearances — and his reception by critics. Please click here to read her full report.

daily show-teaser-trevor noah

Jul 30, 2015
12:44 pm

Barbara Walters Resurfaces With New Series (TVWeek)

TV icon Barbara Walters is returning with a new series. Plans were announced today for “Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals,” set to launch Monday, Nov. 2, on Investigation Discovery.

The show will examine murder cases, political scandals and other high-profile events that have captured headlines in the U.S.

Walters will host and executive produce, along with offering her personal thoughts and insights as she revisits some of the subjects she has interviewed during her career.

Please click here for details including a rundown of some of the scandals that are scheduled to be examined.

investigation discovery-logo

Jul 30, 2015
12:17 pm

First-Ever Live Televised Exorcism Set for This Halloween (TVWeek)

A live event is set for this Halloween that will be a TV first: the first live televised exorcism in U.S. history. Discovery Communications announced plans today for the event, “Exorcism: Live!,” set to air on Destination America.

The program is slotted for Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. The show “will revisit the story and the frightening house that inspired the iconic movie ‘The Exorcist’ on its 66th anniversary this October,” the network said. “The live event will take place at the original Exorcist House in the suburbs of St. Louis where the infamous ritual was performed on Roland Doe in 1949. No one has ever attempted to rid the lurking spirits and demons that inhabit this home, until now.”

Please click here to read the full announcement.


Jul 30, 2015
10:31 am

Actor Dead at 54 After Drowning Incident (Us)

A little more than a week after what has been called a “near-drowning incident” July 20 put him in a coma, actor Sean Malone is dead.

Us magazine reports that the Boston Fire Department confirmed the death of the 54-year-old, known for a handful of movies including the 2007 release “Gone Baby Gone.”

The fire department announced late Wednesday on Twitter: “Sean Malone succumbed to his injuries this evening. [He was] surrounded by his son Sean, parents and siblings at Boston Medical Center.”

The Us report adds: “The actor had been hospitalized in a coma since July 20, when he nearly drowned at a beach in South Boston. According to the Boston Globe, Malone swam too far out in the waters and was rescued by an off-duty firefighter Chris Flaherty.”

Malone, a resident of Boston, played Skinny Ray Likanski in the Ben Affleck-directed detective movie “Gone Baby Gone,” which starred Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan.

Jul 30, 2015
10:17 am

HBO Joins Forces With One of the Top Rock Bands of All Time for Special Programming (TVWeek)

HBO is anteing up for programming from the band that became one of the biggest rock acts in the world with 1980s hits such as “With or Without You,” “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

The pay-cable channel announced plans today for two specials headlined by U2: a concert special from Paris and a behind-the-scenes documentary on U2’s current iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE world tour.

The behind-the-scenes special is set to premiere Nov. 7, followed a week later by U2’s performance at Bercy Arena in Paris, to be aired on the day of the concert, Nov. 14.

Please click here for the full announcement.

u2-innocence + experience-tour logo

Jul 30, 2015
10:01 am

Netflix Production Coming Soon to a Theater Near You — Here’s the Trailer (Boston Herald, YouTube)

Netflix unveiled the release date and a new trailer for the streaming service’s first film. The Boston Herald reports that “Beasts of No Nation” will open in theaters Oct. 16 in selected U.S. cities.

The movie, written and directed by “True Detective’s” Cary Fukunaga and starring Golden Globe winner Idris Elba, premieres the same day on Netflix.

“Netflix is partnering with Bleeker Street, the distribution company founded by Andrew Karpen last year, and Landmark to open the film at 19 markets served by Landmark Theatres,” the story reports.

The movie, about a child soldier in Africa, already has Oscar buzz after being selected for screenings at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.

The story reports that the theatrical opening is set for New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego.

Here’s the trailer:

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