Nov 25, 2015
1:29 pm

Lawsuit Paints Portrait of Viacom Boss Sumner Redstone as ‘Living Ghost'; Redstone Camp Fires Back (Variety, THR)

Attorneys for Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom and CBS, fired back against a lawsuit filed today by the media titan’s former longtime companion, according to media reports. The lawsuit reportedly challenges Redstone’s mental competency.

Variety reports that Manuela Herzer wants to be reinstated as Redstone’s health care agent after being ejected from his life by one of Redstone’s lawyers in mid-October. “The explosive court documents promise to touch off an intense struggle over the end-of-life care of Redstone, 92, as succession plans for his media empire remain unknown,” Variety notes.

An attorney for Redstone has already issued a fiery response to the lawsuit, calling the claims “preposterous” and “lies,” according to media reports.

The Hollywood Reporter says: “In her lawsuit, Herzer calls Redstone ‘a tragic figure in the waning days of an accomplished life,’ ‘a living ghost,’ barely able to … look after himself without a team [of] caretakers. Represented by Pierce O’Donnell and Bert Fields, she attaches the opinion of one doctor who says that since Redstone discovered that ex-girlfriend Sydney Holland had allegedly been unfaithful, he’s suffered ‘profound psychiatric issues.’  Other doctors are said to ‘believe that he will never be able to eat, drink, or speak clearly again.'”

The opposition brief filed today by Redstone’s attorneys allege that Herzer is just after money, THR notes.

The report quotes the brief stating: “Mr. Redstone kicked Ms. Herzer out of his house on October 12, 2015, and since then, Ms. Herzer has been on a warpath. Why? Because she suspected that in the days or weeks following her removal from his home, Mr. Redstone would take action to amend his estate plan, and that whatever benefit might have previously accrued to her would be eliminated.”

Variety notes that Herzer’s legal documents “describe a twilight life of bizarre paradoxes: Redstone is barely sentient, alternately weepy and combative. He’s unable to care for himself, but still fixated on eating steak and having sex daily, if possible, Herzer claims.”

Nov 25, 2015
1:21 pm

How HBO’s ‘Sesame Street,’ Coming in January, Will Be Different (Reuters)

HBO is ready to unveil its version of the long-running children’s show “Sesame Street” on Jan. 16, and Reuters reports that the new series will include some major changes from the PBS version — including a new Latina character, different sets, shorter episodes and an updated theme song.

“HBO and show producers said on Tuesday that Muppets Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird will be joined by real-life character Nina — a young, bilingual Latina who works at the laundromat and bike store — when the educational series arrives at its new home,” Reuters reports.

In a statement, producers indicated the episodes will be cut to 30 minutes each, the theme song has received a “new upbeat update” and the set has been “reimagined.”

Brown Johnson, creative director of Sesame Workshop, said: “Families will see fun and fresh changes to ‘Sesame Street’ and can depend on their favorite Muppet friends to provide them with engaging and educational content.”

Reuters adds: “In the new season, Big Bird has a new nest, Cookie Monster has moved above Hooper’s Store, and Elmo has moved into the 123 Sesame Street brownstone house.”

Celebrity cameos, a mainstay of the older version of the show, will continue. Among the visitors lined up for the new season are Gwen Stefani, Pharrell, Nick Jonas and Sara Bareilles.

sesame street 2

Nov 25, 2015
1:07 pm

Producer Sues Fox Over Long-Running Drama Series (Deadline)

An executive producer on a long-running Fox drama series filed a complaint today in L.A. Superior Court alleging breach of contract and fraudulent inducement, Dominic Patten reports on Deadline.com. “Bones” producer Barry Josephson filed the suit against 20th Century Fox Corp., Fox Broadcasting Co. and Fox Entertainment Group, Patten reports.

“Josephson says the ‘unrelenting’ broadcaster stiffed him and others for potentially millions in promised profit participation,” the story notes. A rep for Fox declined to comment on the action.

Patten reports that the eight-claim lawsuit details “’underreporting’ of more than $19 million from license fees in Europe, ‘misclassifying’ of more than $3.75 million in integration and product-placement deals and ‘misallocated revenue’ from Fox-owned Hulu, among other focused examples.”

Josephson reportedly accuses high-ranking Fox officials, including Gary Newman and Gary Walden, who are now co-CEOs of Fox, of using hardball tactics, including threatening to cancel the show, to get Josephson and others — including showrunner Hart Hansen, producer Kathleen Reichs and stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, who are also producers on the show — to agree to reduced episodic license fees.

“Josephson is seeking unspecified monetary damages, punitive damages, a full accounting and restitution,” the report notes.

“Bones,” which premiered in 2005, has been airing on Fox for 11 seasons.


Nov 25, 2015
1:01 pm

Rosie O’Donnell Sums Up Her Feelings About Donald Trump’s Campaign in One Word (AP, EW)

Asked for her opinion on the presidential campaign of her longtime adversary Donald Trump, Rosie O’Donnell called it a “nightmare.”

The AP reports that O’Donnell kept her response succinct, saying simply: “It’s a nightmare. That’s my quote.” The quote arose during an interview O’Donnell gave about her upcoming appearance on Fox’s “Empire.”

EW.com notes that Trump alluded to his long-running beef with O’Donnell during the Fox News GOP debate in August when he was challenged by moderator Megyn Kelly for allegedly using his Twitter account to call women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, disgusting animals.”

Trump responded: “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” The AP notes that Kelly then corrected him. Following the debate, Trump spent several weeks repeatedly going after Kelly.

The Trump-O’Donnell beef has been going on at least since 2006, EW notes, when O’Donnell called Trump a “snake-oil salesman” on “The View.” Trump responded by calling O’Donnell “a real loser” and “a woman out of control.”

Nov 25, 2015
7:31 am

John Stamos Sentenced for DUI (Us)

Actor John Stamos, known for his starring role on the ABC comedy series “Full House,” has avoided jail time following his arrest on a DUI in June. Us magazine reports that an attorney for Stamos entered a plea of no contest Tuesday on behalf of the actor.

Stamos received a sentence of three years’ probation and must attend 52 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and receive counseling.

Stamos was pulled over in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 12.

Us reports: “At the time, he was hospitalized ‘due to a possible medical condition.’ While at the hospital, the ‘Grandfathered’ star, 52, was arrested for DUI. According to TMZ, Stamos was under the influence of GHB, also known as the date rape drug. Sources told the site he was using it as a fitness supplement.”

Nov 25, 2015
7:27 am

How ‘Big Bang Theory’s’ Kaley Cuoco, Now Separated, Got Rid of Her Wedding-Date Tattoo (Today, Instagram)

Actress Kaley Cuoco of the hit CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” split from her husband, tennis pro Ryan Sweeting, back in September after less than two years of marriage — but the marriage left an imprint on her in the form of a tattoo on her back featuring the couple’s wedding date, Dec. 31, 2013, in Roman numerals.

So Cuoco decided to get a new tattoo to cover up the old one. Today reports that the actress took care of that business this week at a tattoo shop in Studio City, Calif. She documented the event on social media, including sending out an Instagram post with a picture of herself in the tattoo chair — along with the message “Note to self – do not mark your body with any future wedding dates.”

A photo of the new tattoo, a giant moth, later also appeared on Instagram. (See below.)

The actress sent out a message “explaining” the moth tattoo, writing: “The deep, meaningful, larger than life meaning behind this beautiful piece of ink, is….. It covered the last one.”

kaley cuoco-moth tattoo-instagramKaley Cuoco’s new moth tattoo (Instagram)

Nov 25, 2015
7:21 am

TVWeek Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule (TVWeek)

After today, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, TVWeek will be closed tor the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

We will be back on our regular schedule on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015.

In the interim, we will continue to send out TVWeek EXTRAs to keep readers informed about breaking news.

From our family to yours, have a wonderful holiday weekend.

tvweek logo

Nov 25, 2015
7:19 am

It’s Been an Odd Year for Some of Hollywood’s Biggest Stars (Washington Post)

“Here’s an easy one: What do George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Reese Witherspoon, Adam Sandler, Mila Kunis, Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper have in common?” asks movie and pop culture writer Stephanie Merry in The Washington Post.

The answer, besides the obvious note that they’re all A-list stars in Hollywood, is that they’ve all starred in some of the biggest box office flops of 2015.

“And they’re not the only A-listers who have failed get moviegoers to theaters,” Merry writes. “A year of high-profile bombs that kicked off with ‘Mortdecai’ and ‘Jupiter Ascending’ has culminated in a few more failures in the last couple weeks. ‘By the Sea’ barely made a splash despite the star power of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt; ‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ tanked, even though it starred Sandra Bullock; and this past weekend, the combined wattage of Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor wasn’t enough to get audiences interested in ‘Secret in Their Eyes.'”

The piece poses the question, “Why do studios put so much faith in big-name actors when they clearly aren’t reliable money-makers?,” and adds: “The belief that a movie is only marketable if it has a major star is antiquated but also stubbornly commonplace.”

The paradigm may be shifting, according to the analysis, which notes: “People used to say they were heading to ‘the new Tom Hanks movie,’ as if the star of a film trumped the subject matter. But we don’t talk in those terms anymore.”

We encourage readers to click on the link near the top of this story to read Merry’s full analysis.

by the sea-2015

Nov 25, 2015
7:17 am

Early Holiday Gift for TV Advertisers — and NBC (Adweek)

Marketers are getting an early holiday gift this week, and it may be just what they wanted: a live TV event that will draw a massive audience. The twist is it’s not a sports event — it’s the 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will be televised by NBC.

Adweek reports that the annual parade “has become one of the year’s best bets for advertisers, especially given that Thanksgiving night/Black Friday sales begin just hours later.”

The broadcast averaged 22.6 million total viewers last year, with a whopping 6.2 rating in the key 18-49 demo — beating every non-sports prime-time program on the broadcast nets last fall. The 2013 parade did even better, delivering 25.2 million viewers and a 6.6 demo rating.

Said Dan Lovinger, executive VP of Entertainment Ad Sales at NBCUniversal: “It is one of our biggest broadcasts of the year, every year, consistently. We’ll reach over 50 million nationwide through the live broadcast and live streaming, so it’s a massive audience. It’s a great multigenerational viewing experience — you’ve got families watching in what’s about as wholesome an environment as possible, and ultimately what that leads to is superior advertiser demand.”

The strongest interest this year, according to the NBC exec, has been from the retail, automotive, wireless and movie studio categories.

Lovinger adds: “It’s every category that you would imagine. … There’s no one player this year that’s taking a leadership position.”

89th annual macy's thanksgiving day parade 2015

Nov 25, 2015
7:01 am

Video: Adele Joins Jimmy Fallon and the Roots for a Performance of ‘Hello’ on Classroom Instruments (NBC, YouTube)

Adele performed what may be an even better version of her mega-hit “Hello” with the host and house band of NBC’s “Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.” Here’s the video:

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