Apr 25, 2017
4:31 pm

Fox News Hit With Class-Action Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination (NY Times)

The Fox News Channel’s legal problems don’t appear to have been quelled by the firing of Bill O’Reilly. The New York Times reports that the cable channel has been hit with a new class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination.

The suit filed in New York by 11 current and former employees of Fox News accuses the network of “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination.”

“The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, expands a complaint filed at the end of March by Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, two black women who worked in the Fox News payroll department,” The Times reports. “In particular, the suit contends that Judith Slater, the company’s longtime comptroller, engaged in racist behavior and made racist remarks and that senior executives ignored her actions. A third Fox News employee, Monica Douglas, joined the lawsuit earlier this month. Fox News fired Ms. Slater in February.”

In a statement, Douglas H. Wigdor and Jeanne M. Christensen, attorneys for the plaintiffs, said: “When it comes to racial discrimination, 21st Century Fox has been operating as if it should be called 18th Century Fox. We sincerely hope the filing of this race class action wakes 21st Century Fox from its slumbers and inspires the company to take a conciliatory and appropriate approach to remedy its wrongs.”

The report adds: “Another former Fox News employee, Adasa Blanco, filed a separate racial discrimination lawsuit on Tuesday against Fox News, Ms. Slater and Dianne Brandi, the top lawyer at Fox News, in federal court in the Southern District of New York.

“The lawsuits contend that Fox News employees repeatedly complained about racial discrimination to current network executives but that no action was taken and that the inappropriate behavior continued.”

Catherine M. Foti, a lawyer for Slater, released a statement calling the lawsuits “meritless and frivolous,” and adding: ”All claims of racial discrimination against Ms. Slater are completely false.”

Apr 25, 2017
4:03 pm

How Did Bill O’Reilly’s Replacement Do in His Former Time Slot? (AP)

On his first night as the full-time replacement for Bill O’Reilly in the 8 p.m. slot on Fox News Channel, Tucker Carlson delivered a win for the channel Monday night.

“The Nielsen company said that Carlson’s first night at 8 p.m. attracted 3.17 million viewers, beating the combined audience of MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who reached 1.52 million viewers, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who reached 1 million,” the AP reports.

“Carlson did not beat O’Reilly’s nearly 4 million average during the first three months of the year, before being fired following news about Fox settling harassment cases involving him,” the report adds. “Carlson had averaged 3.3 million in the 9 p.m. time slot following O’Reilly.”

The AP also notes: “Fox’s relocated ‘The Five’ reached 2.76 million people at 9 p.m., while MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had an audience of 2.16 million. CNN’s test of a Jake Tapper series at that hour reached 881,000.”

Apr 25, 2017
3:49 pm

Cable Drama Series Renewed, Episode Order Expanded (TVWeek, AMC)

A drama series running on cable just got a big vote of confidence from its network. AMC announced that “Into the Badlands” will be back for a third season, with an order for 16 episodes.

The episode order for season three, which is due out in 2018, matches the combined total for the first two seasons. Season one consisted of just six episodes and season two, which it currently airing and is at its midway point, runs 10 episodes.

In announcing the pickup, Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, said: “‘Into the Badlands’ looks like nothing else on television, a literal high-wire act attracting passionate and dedicated fans by the millions. Thanks to series creators and showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar, the terrific cast, led by Daniel Wu, the amazing martial arts team guided by the incomparable Master Dee Dee and fight directors Stephen Fung and Andy Cheng, and everyone else involved who brings this thrill ride to the fans.”

In its second season the show has been averaging 3.6 million total viewers per episode, including 2.1 million adults 25-54 in Nielsen Live+3 ratings.

The series airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on AMC.

Apr 25, 2017
3:24 pm

Plans Unveiled for Drama’s Final Season (TVWeek)

When a cable drama series returns on Saturday, June 17, it will be for a fourth and final season. AMC announced today that its Revolutionary War spy drama “Turn: Washington’s Spies” will have a two-hour season premiere on that date.

The season will consist of 10 episodes, and will be the show’s final season.

The cable channel also unveiled season 4 key art, featuring Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull, depicting his determination to “Finish the Fight.”

“The ten-episode final season opens with notorious traitor Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman) taking his revenge on George Washington (Ian Kahn) by rounding up suspected rebel spies to impress his new British commanders,” AMC notes in its announcement. “Meanwhile, Abe Woodhull and the other members of the Culper Ring escape Arnold’s clutches and unintended consequences compel Abe to seek revenge. For his side to prevail, he must forsake his bloodlust and turn his attention toward the one thing that truly matters: winning the war.”

An AMC Studios production, “TURN: Washington’s Spies” is executive produced by Craig Silverstein (“Nikita”), who also serves as showrunner, Barry Josephson (“Bones,” Enchanted) from Josephson Entertainment, Michael Taylor (“Battlestar Galactica”), Andrew Colville (“Nikita”) and Henry Bronchtein (“The Sopranos”). The series is based on the book “Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring,” by Alexander Rose, who serves as a producer and has been a member of the writing staff since season two.

In addition to Bell, Kahn and Yeoman, the series stars Seth Numrich as Ben Tallmadge, Daniel Henshall as Caleb Brewster, Heather Lind as Anna Strong, Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull, Kevin R. McNally as Judge Richard Woodhull, Angus Macfadyen as Robert Rogers, Burn Gorman as Major Hewlett, Samuel Roukin as Captain John Simcoe, Ksenia Solo as Peggy Shippen and Nick Westrate as Robert Townsend.

Apr 25, 2017
1:11 pm

Mega-Premiere on Tap for TV Movie — Original Production to Premiere on Five Channels at Once (TVWeek)

A new television movie will be getting the royal treatment when it comes time for the film’s premiere. Disney-ABC Television Group announced today that the Disney Channel original movie “Descendants 2” will roll out simultaneously on five networks.

The premiere, set for Friday, July 21 (8 p.m. ET), will take place on Disney Channel, ABC, Disney XD, Freeform and Lifetime.

“The announcement, made today by Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney|ABC Television Group, continues the group’s commitment to showcasing its programming in new, innovative ways to reach an even wider audience, joining the announcement of ABC’s exhibition of ‘Marvel’s Inhumans’ in IMAX theatres worldwide this fall,” the company said in its announcement.

Said Sherwood: “‘Descendants’ fans asked for more, and we’ve answered their call, with more ways to watch and more ways to engage with the next chapter in their favorite TV movie. We’re combining the magic of Disney Channel content with the power and reach of our linear networks and digital platforms to ensure we’re everywhere our fans are all at the same time.”

Please click here to read today’s announcement, which includes full details about the production.

Apr 25, 2017
12:57 pm

Keith Olbermann Warns of Comeback by Bill O’Reilly — and Explains Why He’s Not a Fan (Variety)

Longtime TV commentator Keith Olbermann, who has had a running feud with Bill O’Reilly for years, warns in a new guest column today in Variety that the cable icon is unlikely to be finished with TV simply because he was fired from his Fox News job after 21 years.

And according to Olbermann, O’Reilly could even surface again on Fox.

“If he wants one, he’ll get another show,” Olbermann writes of O’Reilly. “About 15 months ago there was a rumor going around the news business that the younger Murdochs had reached the tipping point with Billo and would let him go, and that just as quickly one of the other cable news operations would pick him up. After the most successful sponsor boycott since the stampede away from Don Imus in 2007, that scenario seems less likely but hardly impossible. Imus himself was back on the fringes of cable within eight months, and two years after that he was doing his same old show on Fox Business Channel. That lasted six more years.”

Olbermann also discusses possibilities for O’Reilly such as starting his own network, moving his act to Facebook or even signing on with MSNBC.

Olbermann, who currently presents the GQ online commentary series “The Resistance,” details much of his beef with O’Reilly in the in-depth Variety column, including recounting a series of personal anecdotes that tend to portray O’Reilly as a bit of a weirdo. You can read the full column on the Variety website by clicking here.

Keith Olbermann (GQ)

Apr 25, 2017
12:09 pm

Former ‘Bachelor’ Star Arrested (TMZ, TVWeek)

A former star of the ABC reality show “The Bachelor” was arrested in connection with a traffic collision Monday that left one man dead. TMZ.com reports that Chris Soules was arrested after he allegedly slammed into a tractor, killing the driver, and then reportedly fled the scene.

Soules, 35, starred on season 19 of “The Bachelor” in 2015. He previously appeared on season 10 of “The Bachelorette” and has also appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and other reality shows.

“The incident happened in Iowa Monday at 8:20 PM,” TMZ reports. “According to docs, Chris was driving a Chevy pickup and rear ended a John Deere tractor, sending it into a ditch. The driver was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he died.”

The report adds: “TMZ has obtained documents in which police say he was in possession of alcoholic beverage containers at the time of the crash. Soules was apprehended after witnesses near the scene of the crash ID’d him and called police.”

Soules reportedly received medical attention while in custody.

Apr 25, 2017
12:07 pm

ABC Unveils Schedule of Season Finales (TVWeek)

ABC today took the wraps off its full schedule of prime-time season finales, beginning with the “American Crime” finale on Sunday, April 30, and continuing through Tuesday, May 23, when “Dancing with the Stars” wraps for the season.

Two-hour season finales are on tap for “Once Upon a Time,” “Scandal” and “The Toy Box.”

Here’s the full schedule, with all times PT/ET:


“American Crime” 10:00–11:00 p.m.


“black-ish“ 9:30–10:00 p.m.


“The Catch” 10:00–11:00 p.m.


“Shark Tank” 9:00–10:00 p.m.


“Once Upon a Time” 8:00–10:00 p.m. (Two-Hour Season Finale)


“Quantico” 10:00–11:00 p.m.


“The Middle” 8:00–8:30 p.m.

“American Housewife” 8:30–9:00 p.m.

“Fresh Off the Boat” 9:00–9:30 p.m.

“Imaginary Mary” 9:30–10:00 p.m.

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” 10:00–11:00 p.m.


“The Goldbergs” 8:00–8:30 p.m.

“Speechless” 8:30–9:00 p.m.

“Modern Family” 9:00–9:30 p.m.

“Designated Survivor” 10:00–11:00 p.m.


“Grey’s Anatomy” 8:00–9:00 p.m.

“Scandal” 9:00–11:00 p.m. (Two-Hour Season Finale)


“The Toy Box” 8:00–10:00 p.m. (Two-Hour Season Finale)


“America’s Funniest Home Videos” 7:00–8:00 p.m.


“Dancing with the Stars” 8:30–11:00 p.m.

Apr 25, 2017
8:51 am

‘Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner’ Lands Big-Name Musical Act (TVWeek)

The upcoming “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” an alternative to the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner that was set up in conjunction with the TBS series “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” will have Elvis Costello & the Imposters on hand to perform at the event’s after-party.

The dinner takes place this Saturday, April 29, in Washington. All proceeds from “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists (cpj.org).

“Samantha Bee is set to host the evening’s festivities, which will celebrate the importance of a free press,” TBS said in an announcement today. “The special event will be held at DAR Constitution Hall and will air as a one-hour special on TBS at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). TBS, New York Magazine and Vulture will sponsor the after-party at the W Hotel POV Rooftop immediately following the dinner, where Costello and his band the Imposters will perform for a crowd of hardworking journalists honored at the event.”

Apr 25, 2017
8:31 am

One Network Has 10 of the Week’s Top 15 Broadcast Shows (TVWeek)

With 10 of the top 15 shows on broadcast during the week of April 17, based on Nielsen Live+Same Day figures for the key 18-49 demo, ABC had a very good week.

The network sent out a press release today crowing about its results for the week. You can see the full announcement by clicking here.

The announcement notes that the following shows made the Top 15: “Dancing with the Stars” – No. 2, “The Middle” and “Scandal” tied at No. 5, “American Housewife” – No. 10, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” – No. 11, while “The Goldbergs,” “Modern Family,” “Designated Survivor,” “Shark Tank” and “Fresh Off the Boat” tied at No. 12.

The announcement also notes that “Grey’s Anatomy” was pre-empted on Thursday, and ABC’s 2-hour Wednesday comedy block aired repeats.

Please click here for a day-by-day breakdown of the week’s results in the ABC announcement.

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