Jan 20, 2017
3:54 pm

‘NCIS: L.A.’ Star Miguel Ferrer Dead at 61 (Variety, TVWeek, YouTube)

Actor Miguel Ferrer, whose long run as Owen Granger on the CBS procedural “NCIS: Los Angeles” capped off a long and distinguished career on TV and in feature films, has died. Variety reports that Ferrer died Thursday of throat cancer. He was 61.

Ferrer, who played FBI Agent Albert Rosenfeld on ABC’s original “Twin Peaks” in 1990-1991, will reportedly be a part of the new Showtime revival of the series. Before surfacing on “NCIS: L.A.” in 2012, he had a long run on “Crossing Jordan” from 2001-2007, among many TV roles.

His work in feature films includes roles in “RoboCop,” “Traffic,” “Hot Shots! Part Deux,” “Justice League of America” and many others.

He was a part of David Lynch’s short-lived comedy series “On the Air,” following the run of “Twin Peaks.” More recently, he had roles on the TV series “The Protector,” the 2007 version of “Bionic Woman” and “Desperate Housewives,” and did voice work on shows including “Jackie Chan Adventures,” “Young Justice” and “Adventure Time.”

Here’s a clip from “NCIS: Los Angeles” featuring Ferrer along with his co-stars Barrett Foa and Renee Felice Smith …

Jan 20, 2017
3:31 pm

New Book by Mark Twain to Be Published More Than 100 Years After His Death (AP, TVWeek)

A story by Mark Twain that was only recently discovered will be published later this year. The AP reports that the book, “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine,” is scheduled to be released Sept. 26.

The new story, described as a fairy tale, will be published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers.

“The work is based on 16 pages of notes written by Twain in 1879 that were spotted at the Mark Twain Papers & Project at the University of California at Berkeley,” the story reports. “The prize-winning team of Philip Stead and Erin Stead have expanded the unfinished story to an 11-chapter, 152-page illustrated book. The Steads are best known for ‘A Sick Day for Amos McGee.'”

“The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine” focuses on a boy who has the ability to talk to animals and joins forces with them to rescue a prince.

Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Twain, a writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer, died in 1910.

Jan 20, 2017
3:28 pm

Uproar Continues Over Dog Movie: Premiere Canceled as Screenwriter Challenges Legitimacy of Video (TMZ, Fox 31 Denver, THR, TVWeek)

Controversy continues to swirl around an upcoming Universal Pictures feature film after video surfaced of a dog apparently being put in a tough spot during filming.

As we reported yesterday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for a boycott of the movie, “A Dog’s Purpose,” which is due in theaters Jan. 27. TMZ.com first released video showing a terrified German shepherd being forced into turbulent water for one of the film’s stunts.

The movie’s Los Angeles premiere, which had been scheduled for this weekend, was canceled, Fox 31 Denver reports.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, author and co-screenwriter W. Bruce Cameron has called the legitimacy of the controversial video into question. The film is based on Cameron’s book of the same name.

Cameron “released a statement describing the video as ‘shocking,’ but casting doubt on the motivation of ‘the people who shot and edited’ the footage, since if ‘something was wrong, why did they wait fifteen months to do anything about it, instead of immediately going to the authorities?,'” THR reports.

“He goes on to parse that it was a ‘mistake’ to attempt to ‘dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay,’ while remarking that, overall, ‘the water wasn’t his issue, it was the location that was the issue, and the dog happily did the stunt when he was allowed to return to his original spot,'” THR reports.

The on-set safety rep for the American Humane Association has reportedly been placed on administrative leave as part of the fallout from the incident.

Cameron adds in his statement: “The written commentary accompanying the edited video mischaracterizes what happened. The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water — I’ve seen footage of Hercules earlier that day joyfully jumping in the pool. When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked.”

Jan 20, 2017
2:48 pm

Prosecutor Seeks Prison Term for Reality Star (AP)

A prosecutor today urged a federal judge to impose a harsh sentence in a case being heard in Pittsburgh in which “Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller faces sentencing for bankruptcy fraud.

“Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci called witnesses to buttress his contention that the reality TV show star tried to avoid repaying hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt by hiding about $775,000 in income from a bankruptcy court,” the AP reports. “Miller’s attorneys will call witnesses when the hearing continues Feb. 24, after which she’ll be sentenced. Miller and her attorneys said they won’t comment until then.”

The judge, however, appears to be leaning toward probation for Miller.

“Melucci faces an uphill battle to convince U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti that Miller deserves 2 to 2-1/2 years in prison,” the report notes. “That’s because the judge filed tentative findings on the eve of Friday’s hearing essentially agreeing with the defense argument that Miller deserves probation because no creditors lost money once the bankruptcy fraud was discovered.”

The report adds: “Miller pleaded guilty in June to purposely hiding her income in financial disclosure statements filed with the bankruptcy court starting in 2012. People who file Chapter 11 must honestly disclose their assets so the creditors can fairly assess whether to approve any court-approved repayment plan.”

Miller is the director of Reign Dance Productions and oversees the Abby Lee Dance Company, which is the focus of “Dance Moms.” The reality series has been airing on Lifetime since 2011.

Jan 20, 2017
12:09 pm

Why Budweiser Backed Out of Olympics Sponsorship (Ad Age, Sports Business Journal, TVWeek)

Budweiser is no longer the beer of Team USA after Anheuser Busch InBev pulled the plug on its 32-year sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Team — ending a relationship that began with the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

In a statement, Elco van der Noll, VP of experiential marketing for AB InBev, said: “We continually evaluate our sponsorships as our business priorities evolve and we’re adjusting our portfolio to reflect those priorities. We’re proud of our long-term partnership with the USOC and all that we have accomplished together on behalf of America’s athletes.”

Ad Age cites a former executive for AB InBev saying the Olympic sponsorship is not a good fit for the company.

“The former AB InBev executive said ‘you can only support so much and you’ve got to prioritize.'” Ad Age reports. “This person noted that the brewer had not really been activating its USOC deal in a huge way. In 2014, for instance, AB InBev declined to buy TV advertising during the Sochi games, drawing complaints from NBC executives.”

With the Summer Games in Rio out of the way and the next three Olympics — two Winter Games and one Summer Games — all taking place in Asia, the Olympics appear to be heading into a shaky period for sponsorships.

Ad Age’s source noted that the Winter Olympics do not fall in a “key consumption period” for beer, and added that the Olympics come soon after the Super Bowl, where AB InBev traditionally spends heavily.

The report adds: “While the Summer Games align better with the summer drinking season, they are not a great fit for beer brands because viewership skews older and more female, the former executive said. Beer brands tend to target young adult males, although some brands have made a concerted effort lately to reach females.”

Jan 20, 2017
11:37 am

Disney|ABC Fills Key Executive Post (TVWeek)

The Disney|ABC Television Group has made a high-level executive appointment, announcing today that the new executive VP and chief financial officer is Robert Langer.

Langer replaces Peter Seymour, who announced last November that he was stepping down after 20 years with the company.

Making the announcement was Ben Sherwood, co-chair, Disney Media Networks & president, Disney|ABC Television, to whom Langer will report.

In the announcement, Sherwood said: “A superb financial manager and strategist with deep roots in The Walt Disney Company, Robert is a proven leader and problem solver who brings broad domestic business experience and deep knowledge of the international marketplace. Robert is a strong addition to the Disney|ABC leadership team, and we are all delighted to welcome him back to Southern California.”

The announcement notes: “Langer will have financial leadership, strategy and business development oversight for the Disney|ABC portfolio, including the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, ABC Owned Station Group, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney|ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution, Radio Disney and Freeform. He will also help oversee Disney|ABC’s equity interests in A+E and Hulu.”

Langer was previously The Walt Disney Company’s country manager for Germany, Switzerland & Austria (GSA), leading all Disney operations and businesses within the region.

Said Langer: “I’ve long been impressed with the Disney|ABC business, and I’m thrilled to be given this new opportunity and excited about the prospects. I look forward to not only working with the talented financial, strategy and business development teams, but also collaborating with colleagues across the group’s channels and brands to grow and evolve our businesses.”

The announcement adds: “Langer joined Disney in 1999 as director, Business Development, Global Licensing. In 2007 he was appointed chief financial officer for the global Disney Consumer Products (DCP) division, responsible for finance, accounting and business development functions and overseeing the division’s information technology function. He was appointed general manager for DCP EMEA in 2009, responsible for DCP’s merchandise, publishing and The Disney Store’s business in Europe. Previous positions within Disney include roles at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where he served as chief financial officer, Disneyland Resort and chief financial officer, Global Segment Operations.”

Robert Langer (Disney|ABC)

Jan 20, 2017
11:19 am

Make America Great Again, the Sequel: Trump Unveils His Campaign Slogan for 2020 — and Borrows Liberally From Popular Culture (TheSlot, Deadspin, THR, Washington Post, Comicbook.com, YouTube)

Donald Trump invoked a number of popular culture references during his inauguration festivities this week, notably copping a line from Batman villain Bane in the 2012 movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”

A number of observers, including Deadspin’s Timothy Burke, via a video posted on TheSlot, noted parallels between Trump’s populist message and the message delivered by Bane after seizing control of Gotham.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Trump offered this message during his speech: “Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”

Here’s what Bane told listeners during a speech on the steps of Gotham’s Blackgate Prison: “We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity. And we give it to you, the people.”

Meanwhile, The Washington Post observed this week that Trump appears to have settled on the slogan for his 2020 re-election campaign, which Comicbook.com notes is also the tagline used for 2016’s “The Purge: Election Year.” The simple slogan is “Keep America Great,” and Trump was reportedly taking steps to trademark it — with and without an exclamation point.

“The slogan is a follow-up to his super-viral 2016 campaign slogan of ‘Make America great again,’ and implies he believes that after only four years in office the country will have risen to his standard of ‘great,'” Comicbook.com notes.

Here’s the Bane speech from “The Dark Knight Rises” …

Jan 20, 2017
11:01 am

Series That Just Premiered a Week Ago Picked Up for a Second Season (TVWeek)

A series that just premiered Jan. 13 — and has already chalked up not only great reviews but also strong viewership — has been quickly renewed for a second season.

The series is the Amazon Original “Sneaky Pete,” which has connections to the wildly successful “Breaking Bad” — notably “Sneaky Pete’s” co-creator and executive producer Bryan Cranston, who also appears in the series.

The show features an ensemble cast led by Giovanni Ribisi along with Marin Ireland and Peter Gerety. Co-created by Cranston and David Shore, it has Graham Yost (“The Americans”) on board as showrunner and a team of executive producers that includes Cranston, Yost, Michael Dinner and Fred Golan, and James Degus.

Amazon noted that the show bowed as the second-most-streamed original scripted series on an opening day, behind “The Man in the High Castle,” and opened with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The announcement from Amazon includes rave reviews from a number of high-profile critics, along with comments from viewers and additional details about the show. Please click here to read the full announcement.

Jan 20, 2017
10:51 am

Report: Sony Weighing Sale of Its TV and Film Business (NY Post)

Sony Corp. is reportedly listening to bank pitches about the potential sale of its TV and film business, according to The New York Post, which cites multiple sources.

“’Every bank is pushing pitches,’ said one person familiar with the process. Another confirmed that banks have paid a flurry of visits to Tokyo to advise on a sale of Sony’s film and TV business,” the story reports.

“CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has long signaled interest in acquiring the asset, though several Chinese bidders could be in the wings,” The Post reports, adding: “Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has denied any intent to sell the firm during the five years he’s been in the top slot at the company.”

The report notes that Hirai has not appointed a successor to outgoing Sony Entertainment boss Michael Lynton, even though it has been known for some time that Lynton is headed out. That situation has fueled speculation that there may be no position to fill, The Post adds.

Jan 20, 2017
10:44 am

Netflix Announces ‘House of Cards’ Premiere Date — and Gives Us a Somewhat Chilling Teaser (TVWeek, Netflix)

Whether the timing of the release — coinciding with Inauguration Day — is accidental or purposeful would be open to interpretation, but Netflix chose today to announce that season five of its mega-hit presidential drama “House of Cards” will premiere May 30.

The streaming service made the announcement via a short teaser posted online and on social media that provides its own somewhat chilling observation on the situation in Washington — fictional or otherwise.

Check it out …

Older Articles