Dec 8, 2016
10:06 am

Co-Founder of WWE Joins Trump Administration (USA Today)

One of the co-founders of the WWE professional wrestling empire will be a part of the administration being assembled by President-elect Donald Trump. USA Today reports that Linda McMahon has been chosen by Trump to head up the Small Business Administration.

In announcing his nomination of McMahon, Trump said: “My America First agenda is going to bring back our jobs and roll back the burdensome regulations that are hurting our middle class workers and small businesses.” He added: “Linda is going to be a phenomenal leader and champion for small businesses and unleash America’s entrepreneurial spirit all across the country.”

McMahon ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in Connecticut in 2010 and 2012. She was an early supporter of Trump’s presidential bid, and has been a big donor to Republican candidates. “She donated a total of $6 million to a pro-Trump super PAC, Federal Election Commission records show,” the report notes.

Trump has been associated with WWE for some time, appearing in a number of the organization’s wrestling productions and being named to the WWE Hall of Fame.

Dec 8, 2016
9:53 am

He’s Hollywood’s Most Overpaid Actor — for the Second Year in a Row (Forbes)

Forbes just released its list of the most overpaid actors and actresses in Hollywood, and for the second consecutive year, Johnny Depp tops the list. Second on this year’s list is Will Smith.

The publication examines the last three films in which an actor or actress was featured prior to June 2016, calculating the star’s estimated pay vs. the film’s profit to come up with a “return on investment” figure. Depp, who appeared in the box-office bomb “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” came up with a box office return of $2.80 for every $1 paid.

At No. 2, Smith returned $5 for every $1 paid. Third on the list is Channing Tatum ($6 for every $1), followed by Will Ferrell at No. 4 ($6.50 for every $1) and George Clooney at No. 5 ($6.70 for every $1).

The list, which skews toward actors who have had past box-office success that enables them to command a hefty salary despite any recent flops, is dominated by males. But sneaking into the top 10 was Julia Roberts at No. 9, with a return of $10.80 for every $1 paid.

Dec 8, 2016
9:37 am

Facebook Live Names Its Most Watched Video of the Year — Maybe You’ve Seen It (Recode, YouTube, Facebook)

The most popular video of 2016 on Facebook Live — by a wide margin — was a clip that has come to be known as “Chewbacca Mom,” Recode reports.

“The viral video of Candace Payne, a previously unknown mother of two, donning a Chewbacca mask she bought at Kohl’s and laughing hysterically while wearing it in her car, was the most-watched Facebook Live video of 2016,” the story reports. “It has 162 million views as of Thursday.”

The clip reportedly almost doubled the view count for the next closest contender, which was a clip of musician Ted Yoder playing a hammered dulcimer.

In case you missed it …

Dec 8, 2016
9:28 am

Megyn Kelly Gets Booed in Hollywood, Comments on Ailes, Trump (USA Today)

Megyn Kelly, host of the Fox News program “The Kelly File,” appeared Wednesday at the annual Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment breakfast, where she was warmly received — until she brought up Donald Trump.

Kelly “had kind things to say about Michelle Obama (‘who set the example for us all in standing up for her convictions’) and Hillary Clinton (‘who broke a barrier no one has ever done in America’) and Melania Trump (‘who was slut-shamed … but she held her head high’),” USA Today reports. “Kelly also made reference to Roger Ailes, commending her female colleagues at Fox News who ‘at great risk to their livelihoods brought down a very powerful, serial sexual harasser.'”

But when the topic turned to Donald Trump, Kelly’s feel-good comments met with resistance.

“I have high hopes for him,” Kelly said. “Despite the tweets and all the rest of it there is much to admire about Donald Trump.”

A number of the Hollywood insiders in the audience booed Kelly’s opening comment, prompting Kelly to single out comedian Kathy Griffin, who had raised her middle finger, according to the report.

Kelly eventually finished her point, saying of Trump: “There is much to admire about him, and I think the more we understand that and understand why he won this election, the better off we’ll be as a country and understand each other.”

Dec 8, 2016
8:08 am

Venerable Retailer Sears Likely to Close Many More Stores as Sales Continue to Slide — Net Losses in Past 6 Years Almost $10 Billion (Fortune)

The sales picture continues to worsen for retailer Sears Holdings, which owns both the Sears chain and Kmart and which has lost in the neighborhood of $10 billion since 2010.

Fortune reports that the company today announced a net loss of $748 million in the third quarter, its worst performance in years. “Comparable sales, which exclude the impact of stores closed in the preceding year, fell 4.4% at Kmart and 10% at Sears, deeper drops than in recent quarters,” the story reports.

While the retail segment as a whole is tough right now, Sears’ results were “disastrous” in terms of market share, Fortune reports, noting that in the same period Macy’s was down just 0.45% while Kohl’s rose 1.30% and J.C. Penney was up 0.91%.

“Sears repeated its claim it’s in the midst of a reinvention that would see it become a membership-based retailer far less reliant on physical stores, and leveraging its Shop Your Way loyalty program — but all this has not yielded any results yet, even by the company’s own admission,” Fortune reports.

The report quotes Jason Hollar, Sears’ finance chief, saying the company “will continue to close unprofitable stores as their leases come due.” Hollar added that the company would “end up with a smaller but meaningfully sized store base.”

Hollar noted that the company has considerable flexibility to continue closing stores, given that about 550 of its stores have leases that will expire in the next few years.

Dec 8, 2016
7:48 am

Madonna Takes Her Rebel Heart Tour to TV (TVWeek, Showtime)

Madonna’s high-profile concert film “Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour” premieres on television this week, with the program set to bow Friday, Dec. 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime. You can see the official trailer below.

The concert program was “shot around the world and features a collection of live and behind-the-scenes footage culminating in performances at the Sydney Olympic Park in March of this year,” Showtime notes in an announcement for the project. “The film is co-directed by Danny B. Tull and Nathan Rissman, both of whom have worked extensively with Madonna on her feature films and tour movies.”

The announcement notes that the setlist includes songs from “Rebel Heart” (the No. 1 dance hits “Living for Love” and “Bitch I’m Madonna”) along with classics such as “Material Girl” and “Holiday,” and a “Dress You Up” medley that includes “Get Into The Groove,” “Everybody” and “Lucky Star.” Other highlights from the tour include her first-ever live concert performance of “Take a Bow,” and acoustic versions of “Like A Prayer,” “Secret” and “Don’t Tell Me.”

The announcement adds: “The Rebel Heart Tour was directed by Jamie King with musical direction by Kevin Antunes (the band’s keyboardist Ric’key Pageot, drummer Brian Frasier-Moore, guitarist Monte Pittman, and background vocalists Kiley Dean and Nicki Richards), lead choreography by Megan Lawson, hair by Andy LeCompte, makeup by Aaron Henrikson, and costume design by Arianne Phillips.”

Here’s the trailer …

Dec 8, 2016
7:12 am

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer Dies (NY Times, TVWeek, YouTube)

Greg Lake, who was an integral part of two of the most important bands of the progressive rock movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, has died.

The New York Times reports that Lake died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.

Born in the seaside town of Poole in southern England, Lake co-founded both King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, two of the British bands credited with pioneering the classically infused rock that came to be known as progressive rock or prog rock.

It was as bass player, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist for ELP that he gained wide recognition. The group broke out in 1970, scoring a hit with the song “Lucky Man,” written by Lake when he was 12 years old. The song featured one of the first Moog synthesizer solos in rock history.

“The band released six platinum-selling albums characterized by songs of epic length, classical influence and ornate imagery, and toured with elaborate light shows and theatrical staging,” The Times reports. “One album was a live interpretation of Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition.’ It reached the top 10 in both Britain and the United States, a feat that seems astonishing now.”

The group’s keyboard player, Keith Emerson, died earlier this year at 71, committing suicide by gunshot on March 11.

Here’s a clip of Emerson, Lake & Palmer performing “Lucky Man” during the band’s 40th anniversary reunion concert …

Dec 7, 2016
3:51 pm

Netflix Rolls Out Plans for New (Old) Norman Lear Comedy (TVWeek, Netflix)

Netflix has a new show in the works from legendary TV series creator Norman Lear, and in another case of “what’s old is new again,” the show is a reboot of a previous TV series.

The new version of “One Day at a Time” features the Alvarez family. The original sitcom, which was developed by Lear and aired on CBS from 1975-1984, was centered on the Coopers, including mom Bonnie Franklin as Ann Romano and daughters Mackenzie Phillips as Julie Cooper Horvath and Valerie Bertinelli as Barbara Cooper Royer. And of course, there was Pat Harrington Jr. as the super, Schneider.

The new show, billed as a “reimagining” of the original series, rolls out on Netflix Jan. 6.

In an announcement released today, Netflix describes the new show as “a hilarious and heartfelt comedy that follows three generations of a Cuban-American family sometimes reluctantly cohabitating and navigating the ups and downs of life. A newly single mom and military veteran journeys through the triumphs and tribulations that come with raising two strong-willed, mega-millennial children, all the while enlisting the ‘help’ of her old-school mother and her building manager-turned-invaluable confidante. Through a contemporary lens, ‘One Day at a Time’ offers a glimpse at what life looks like, in good times and bad — and how those around you somehow make it all worthwhile.”

The show stars Rita Moreno, Justina Machado, Stephen Tobolowsky, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz. Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce executive produce and are co-showrunners alongside executive producer Norman Lear.

Here’s a trailer released today …

Dec 7, 2016
3:11 pm

Racy New Trailer Released for ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ (Universal)

The new trailer for “Fifty Shades Darker” ratchets up the sex quotient for the steamy Universal Pictures sequel, which is due in theaters on Valentine’s Day 2017.

Here’s the trailer, released today …

Dec 7, 2016
2:53 pm

Details Unveiled on New TV Network Launching in Early 2017 (TVWeek)

Details were announced today about a new over-the-air television network that is being prepared to launch early next year. The new network, with the name “TBD,” comes from Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The company said TBD will deliver fresh, relevant digital-first programming into millions of U.S. homes.

“TBD, Sinclair’s second multicast launch, will include web series, short films, fashion, comedy, lifestyle, eSports, music, and viral content, all curated through partnerships with creators, including some of the biggest content companies in the digital world — Jukin Video, Legendary Digital Networks (Nerdist & Geek and Sundry), Whistle Sports, Kinonation, Zoomin’ and Canvas Media Studios, among others,” a spokesperson for Sinclair said in an email.

“Sinclair will also be retaining The QYOU, the leading curator of online video culture for television, to program the network and to provide creative support,” the email adds.

In its formal announcement today, Sinclair calls TBD “the first multiscreen TV network in the U.S. market to bring premium internet-first content to TV homes across America.

Please click here to read the full announcement.

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