TVBizWire

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
8:57 am
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NBC Under Pressure to Pull New Comedy Series (Miami Herald)

One of NBC’s new comedies has offended a group of viewers, who are putting pressure on the network to cancel the program. The Miami Herald reports that the sitcom, “Bad Judge,” is taking heat from female attorneys.

The attorneys say the show depicts a female judge as “unethical, lazy, crude, hyper-sexualized and unfit to hold such an esteemed position of power.” They have sent a letter to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke, asking him to cancel the show.

“We believe that media images that depict women in a negative light, even when intended to be funny, are damaging and often dangerous,” said Deborah Baker, president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. “Our mission has been to advance women in the legal profession, to help women climb the ranks and to be taken seriously in the legal profession. However, this show does just the opposite.”

The complaints include references to Kate Walsh’s character having a hickey, parking in a disabled spot, and showing up late to court because she was hung over, the story says.

“Our organization understands that ‘Bad Judge’ may be intended to be hyperbole, but we nonetheless find it damaging to women in the legal profession,” Baker said. Her letter pointed out that fewer than 35 percent of active judges on the 13 federal courts of appeal are women, and there have only been four female justices on the Supreme Court.

NBC didn’t return calls requesting comment, the article notes.

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
8:44 am
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Need College Credit? One Cable Network Is Offering the First ’Network-Branded Online Course’ (LA Times)

For people who may be a few college credits short, a cable channel is offering what it’s calling the first “network-branded online course for college credit.” The Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports that the program is being offered by History.

The network is working with University of Oklahoma to offer a course called “United States, 1865 to the Present,” which will cover topics including the Gilded Age and the two World Wars, the story notes. The 16-week course will be taught by University of Oklahoma Professor Steve Gillon, who also serves as History’s “scholar-in-residence,” the story adds.

Students will be able to receive credit if they pay $500 in tuition, or can take the class for $250 and receive no credit.

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
8:31 am
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Time Warner Cable’s Earnings Fall Short as Video Subscriptions Fall (Bloomberg)

Time Warner Cable reported third-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates as the company shed video customers, reports Bloomberg.

Third-quarter earnings fell 4.3% to $1.86 per share, missing the average analyst estimate of $1.90 per share, the story reports. The company, which is waiting for regulatory approval to merge with Comcast, shed 184,000 video customers, although it added 92,000 high-speed Internet subscribers.

“Time Warner Cable and Comcast are relying more on broadband users for revenue growth as new TV subscribers prove harder to come by,” Bloomberg reports. “Netflix Inc.’s streaming service and HBO’s upcoming online subscription are going after younger viewers who prefer to watch shows over the Web rather than paying $50 a month or more for traditional cable.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
8:17 am
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‘Redskins’ Challenge to Target at Least One L.A. TV Station (B&C)

A legal challenge against broadcasters’ use of the term “Redskins” on the air is expanding from the East Coast to include the West Coast.

B&C reports that legal activist John Banzhaf plans to challenge at least one TV station license in Los Angeles over the on-air use of the term. The report notes that Banzhaf didn’t disclose which station or stations he might challenge.

“Why L.A.? It is the largest market with the nearest license renewal date,” the story notes. “California TV station licenses expire Dec. 1. Petitions to deny renewals of those licenses are due Nov. 3.”

Banzhaf, who has filed a petition to deny the renewal of Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s radio station WWXX in Washington, D.C., told the publication, “I plan to have filed — by and on behalf of Native Americans — at least one and perhaps more petitions opposing the renewal of the broadcast licenses of major L.A. TV station(s).”

He argues that the use of the term to refer to the Washington NFL team is a form of hate speech and that its use isn’t in the public interest. Team owner Snyder has said some Native Americans don’t oppose the name, and said he won’t change it.

The B&C story adds: “The FCC is currently considering the WWXX petition. Three out of the five commissioners (the Democrats) have expressed their own concerns about the name, including FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, but that is different from a finding that its use invalidates a station license, something Wheeler has made clear.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
8:11 am
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Next Up From the ‘Under the Dome’ Team: A Medical Drama, in the Pipeline at CBS (THR)

CBS has a new medical drama in the pipeline from some of the people behind “Under the Dome.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the network tapped “Dome’s” Dan Truly and Neal Baer to develop the untitled drama about Los Angeles’ female director of public health.

CBS has given the project a script commitment, with Truly and Baer writing the script and executive producing. The project, from CBS Television Studios, tracks the lead character as she handles issues ranging from bio-terrorism to restaurants with poor health ratings.

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
8:01 am
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Dish Ordered to Pay $22,500 to Man Who Complained About 31 Calls for an Overdue Bill (NY Post)

Dish Network has been ordered by a federal judge to pay $22,500 to a man who complained the company called his cell phone 31 times to get him pay an overdue bill, even though he wasn’t a customer, reports the New York Post.

Chester Moore wasn’t a Dish customer and didn’t owe the company any money, and even though he told customer service reps that he didn’t have an account with the company, the calls didn’t stop, the story reports.

The calls were made by an automatic telephone dialing system to a number that was apparently shared by Moore and the customer Dish was trying to reach, the publication noted. During an eight-month period in 2012, Moore claimed he received up to seven calls a week.

Dish “knowingly employed methods and/or has a corporate policy designed to harass and abuse individuals,” Moore alleged, “and has set up their ATDS in a manner which makes it virtually impossible for the automated calls to stop.”

The judge ruled that the calls violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which doesn’t allow non-emergency auto dials to mobile phones if the customer hasn’t given consent, the piece reports.

The award partly covers “emotional distress, frustration, worry, anger and/or loss of capacity to enjoy life,” the judge said.

Dish declined to comment.

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
7:49 am
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Fox Getting In on the Peter Pan Phenomenon (EW, Deadline)

Another network is jumping on the Peter Pan bandwagon, with Fox developing a project called “League of Pan,” a series that would follow the Lost Boys after they leave Neverland, reports EW.com’s Inside TV.

Fox has given a script commitment plus penalty to the project, which will be set in modern-day Los Angeles. The project comes as NBC is working on a live production of “Peter Pan,” as well as a workplace comedy called “Wendy and Peter.”

The Fox project is described as a “soapy thriller,” with Andrew Miller of “The Secret Circle” writing and executive producing. Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo of Imagine are executive producing.

The same project was developed two years ago by 20th TV and Imagine, which had optioned a script by Brian McCauley Johnson, Deadline.com notes. Johnson will get a producer credit on the new project, the story adds.

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
7:37 am
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Emmy Winner Developing Nun Comedy for Pay-Cable Channel (Deadline)

An Emmy-winning actress has a new comedy project in the works for pay cable in which she will star as a nun. “The Closer” star Kyra Sedgwick is working with “The New Adventures of Old Christine” creator Kari Lizer on the project for HBO, in what Nellie Andreeva, writing on Deadline.com, calls “a power pairing.”

Sedgwick is slated to star, while Lizer will write the untitled comedy, with both executive producing. The project, from Warner Bros. TV and Lizer’s Kari’s Logo Here company, will feature Sedgwick as a nun named Kate who leaves the church after becoming disillusioned.

“No longer ‘Sister Katherine,’ she’s turned her back on her old life and now finds herself coming of age, trying to figure out who she is without her vows and what it means to be an ordinary woman. A person who believes in believing, she’ll try to figure out what or whom she’ll put her faith in now,” Andreeva writes.

While Sedgwick is best known for her roles on dramas, she recently appeared in Fox’s comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” She won a Primetime Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series in 2010 for “The Closer,” following her fifth consecutive nomination for the role.

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Kyra Sedgwick

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
7:31 am
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Comic Book Kid Getting a Netflix Series (THR)

For its latest children’s series, Netflix is developing another reboot — a new live-action version of “Richie Rich,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

The comedy stars Jake Brennan of “Dark Skies” in the title role, and will debut in early 2015. The show is based on the comic book character, which became a TV show in the 1980s as a Sunday morning cartoon. In 1994, Macaulay Culkin starred in a live-action movie version.

In Netflix’s take on the story, Richie Rich has become hugely wealthy by inventing and selling green technology. The show, from Awesomeness TV, will track the character as he travels to Antarctica to make a movie.

Netflix has several other children’s shows in the works, with a few of them reboots, such as “Care Bears” and “The Magic School Bus.”

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Richie Rich

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 30, 2014
7:19 am
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Lifetime Taps Into Bible for Two-Part Special (THR)

Lifetime has a two-part Bible-themed special close to rolling out. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the program, “The Women of the Bible,” comes from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

The program will be narrated by Downey and will retell stories from the Bible focusing on important women, such as Eve and Mary Magdalene, with interviews featuring female religious leaders such as Victoria Osteen, the co-pastor of Lakewood Church, the story notes. The program will premiere Sunday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m., providing a lead-in to the network’s miniseries “The Red Tent.”

“The Bible is an inspiring source of some of the most timeless stories known today, and what lies within it are important narratives about the women who play a vital role in faith,” said Lifetime Executive Vice President Rob Sharenow. “There’s no one better than Mark Burnett and Roma Downey to create this special, which is the perfect complement to Lifetime’s miniseries event ‘The Red Tent.’”

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