Apr 28, 2016
3:01 pm

Suspect Shot in TV Station Bomb Threat (CBS News, Fox5DC)

A man wearing a panda costume and a surgical mask was shot after the man, who allegedly claimed to have a bomb, exited the building housing Fox station WBFF-TV in Baltimore. The man was reportedly alive and was taken into custody.

CBS News reports: “Earlier, the television station had been evacuated after the suspect entered the lobby and claimed to have a bomb, CBS Baltimore reported. A police spokesman told reporters that after the suspect exited the building, he would not comply with officers’ orders, and a sniper shot him.”

“Before the suspect entered the building, a car was set on fire in the parking lot,” the report notes. “Authorities say they believe it was the suspect’s car.”

Fox5DC.com reports: “Police said the suspect, a white man in his 20s, was still alive but refused to cooperate with officers. They did not confirm whether he held an actual bomb, but said he had wires inside his jacket.”

The suspect reportedly lay on the ground for a period of time after the shooting, and appeared to be conscious. A bomb robot was dispatched to the scene to sweep for explosives.

Apr 28, 2016
2:41 pm

New ‘Peanuts’ TV Series About to Launch — Here’s a Sample (TVWeek)

A new “Peanuts” TV series is about to launch that will feature the familiar characters from “Peanuts” comics and TV specials. The cable channel Boomerang announced plans for the show’s premiere, set for Monday, May 9, at 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT.

The channel also released a promotional clip this week, and you can watch it below.

“For the first time, the individual Peanuts print comic strips come to life in vignettes filled with humor and heart for the whole family,” Boomerang said in its announcement, adding: “The series captures the spirit of the timeless adventures of Charlie Brown’s gang and his wildly imaginative, supremely confident and world-famous beagle, Snoopy. The watercolor art style, textured backgrounds and framing deliver a viewing experience that will excite both classic Peanuts enthusiasts and new fans alike.”

A sneak peak of the show is planned for Cartoon Network the week of May 9 at 10:30 a.m. (ET/PT). Additionally, selected individual shorts will roll out on the Cartoon Network video app.

The show comes from Normaal Animation under license from Peanuts Worldwide LLC.

The announcement notes: “Boomerang’s exclusive U.S. premiere of Peanuts further establishes the network as a prime destination for original, family-friendly animated programming with a slate that includes ‘Bunnicula,’ ‘Wabbit,’ ‘Be Cool,’ ‘Scooby-Doo!,’ ‘The Tom and Jerry Show’ and the hour-long special ‘Super Hero High.'”

Here’s the “Peanuts” promo clip …

Apr 28, 2016
2:01 pm

Movement in Executive Ranks at NBCUniversal Cable Networks (Variety, TVWeek)

A number of executives have new titles at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment after the head of scripted programming for the unit, Bill McGoldrick, filled out his executive team by making three promotions.

Variety reports that the company promoted former USA executives Alex Sepiol and Michael Sluchan along with Syfy’s Heather Olander.

McGoldrick announced the moves today in a memo to staffers. Sepiol was named EVP, Scripted Development, with McGoldrick noting his work on series such as “Mr. Robot,” “Suits” and “White Collar.” “Alex has a talent for identifying shows that connect with today’s audiences and stand out on their own to push brand boundaries,” McGoldrick wrote.

Sluchan becomes SVP, Current Scripted Programming, and will head up all current scripted programming for the portfolio. “His efforts have helped to propel USA’s critically acclaimed programming slate,” McGoldrick said in the memo, noting Sluchan’s work with “Monk,” “Royal Pains” and “The Starter Wife.”

Olander will now be SVP, Alternative Programming, and will oversee alternative for USA in addition to Syfy, reporting to McGoldrick. “Heather is a great talent with high energy and tenacity. For the last couple of years, she has been focused on growing Syfy’s unscripted programming slate,” McGoldrick noted in the memo, mentioning her involvement in “Chrisley Knows Best.”


Apr 28, 2016
1:44 pm

Family of Ronald Reagan Outraged by Will Ferrell Project (ET, TVWeek)

After news broke that “Saturday Night Live” alum Will Ferrell will produce and star in a comedy about Ronald Reagan, as we reported earlier today, members of Reagan’s family went public with outrage over the project.

“The script, titled ‘Reagan,’ reportedly centers on a White House intern who is tasked with convincing the POTUS that he is an actor playing the president in a movie when the latter falls into dementia during his second term,” ET reports. “Ferrell is attached to star as the titular president.”

Michael Reagan and Patti Davis, the son and daughter of President Reagan, lashed out at the project, expressing concern over the use of Alzheimer’s disease as comedy fodder, the report notes.

Michael Reagan sent out a tweet saying: “What an [outrage]. Alzheimer’s is not a joke. It kills. You should be ashamed, all of you.”

Davis posted an open letter to Ferrell on her website, writing: “Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer’s and other versions of dementia. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous.”

The letter also says: “Alzheimer’s doesn’t care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker. It steals what is most precious to a human being — memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime that we all come to rely on to hold our place secure in this world and keep us linked to those we have come to know and love.”

Apr 28, 2016
11:27 am

NBCUniversal Acquires DreamWorks Animation (TVWeek)

DreamWorks Animation will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group as part of an acquisition confirmed today by NBCUniversal.

The deal, which is subject to approval in the U.S. and abroad, places the studio’s equity value at about $3.8 billion. DreamWorks Animation stockholders will receive $41 in cash for each share of DreamWorks Animation common stock.

Said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal: “DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal. Jeffrey Katzenberg and the DreamWorks organization have created a dynamic film brand and a deep library of intellectual property. DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come.”

The deal, which is expected to close by the end of this year, has been approved by the boards of directors of DreamWorks Animation and NBCUniversal ownerComcast, and the controlling shareholder of DreamWorks Animation has approved the agreement by written consent.

Burke noted in the announcement: “We have enjoyed extraordinary success over the last six years in animation with the emergence of Illumination Entertainment and its brilliant team at Illumination Mac Guff studio. The prospects for our future together are tremendous. We are fortunate to have Illumination founder Chris Meledandri to help guide the growth of the DreamWorks Animation business in the future.”

Please click here for additional details in the announcement from NBCUniversal.

dreamworks animation

Apr 28, 2016
11:01 am

Bizarre Story About How Kelly Ripa Got Her Job on ‘Live’ (Washington Post)

Amid the recent media frenzy surrounding Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan and the impending lineup change on ABC’s “Live! with Kelly and Michael,” an intriguing story resurfaced about how Ripa got her job on the show.

When Ripa returned to the show Tuesday, she noted during her opening monologue that she had been with the company for 26 years. That’s because she was a cast member on ABC’s “All My Children” going back to 1990, well before she snagged the job of second banana to Regis Philbin on “Live” back in 2001.

The Washington Post reports: “As Philbin writes in his 2011 autobiography ‘How I Got This Way,’ he and executive producer Michael Gelman were mulling ideas for his new co-host after Kathie Lee Gifford departed in 2000. They remembered that Ripa (at the time starring as Hayley on ‘All My Children’) was particularly delightful as a guest — or, in Philbin’s words, had ‘a natural, quick-witted, unaffected, confident, fun-loving kind of sparkle’ about her.”

Ripa had a tryout on the show on Nov. 1, 2000, and the guest was a Los Angeles psychic, Char Margolis, who broke the news on air that Ripa was pregnant. Ripa froze, then nervously revealed: “I haven’t told my boss yet!,” referring to her “All My Children” job.

“Obviously, Philbin and the producers were already big fans of Ripa, but that crazy incident ensured she was at the top of their list of potential co-hosts,” The Post reports. “Unsurprisingly, she got the job.”

The incident was replayed during the “Live! with Regis and Kelly” 10th anniversary show in 2011. Check it out …

Apr 28, 2016
10:51 am

Ryan Seacrest Signs 4-Year Deal With ABC (THR)

Ryan Seacrest has a new contract that will keep him at ABC for a while, just as his name is being mentioned in connection with “Live! with Kelly and Michael.”

“The prolific producer and host has inked a new deal to continue fronting the network’s long-running ball-drop special, ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,’ for four more years,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports. “The pact also keeps Seacrest within the Disney fold as industry rumors swirl that he could be a contender for Michael Strahan’s slot on ABC’s ‘Live! with Kelly and Michael,’ though ABC brass is said to be waiting for the dust to settle before making any decisions about a replacement.”

The report adds: “Insiders point to Seacrest’s proven skill set as a morning host (albeit on the radio) as well as his rapport with Ripa. (He has been a frequent guest on ‘Live!,’ and together he and Ripa have co-hosted the Disney parade for ABC.) What’s more, for the first time in 15 years, the former ‘American Idol’ emcee’s schedule has eased up considerably.”

Variety also notes: “What’s unlikely, however, is seeing Seacrest — or any other true A-lister in contention — partake in the inevitable parade of guest hosts that will follow Strahan’s mid-May exit.”

ryan seacrest new year's rockin' eve abc

Apr 28, 2016
10:44 am

Alec Baldwin to Host Prime-Time Show Reviving a Classic TV Game Format — Michael Strahan Also Has a New Gig Coming Up (TVWeek)

ABC announced plans to bring a classic TV game show to prime time with Alec Baldwin hosting. The broadcast net is reviving “Match Game” as part of its new Sunday Fun & Games Night block.

The block launches for a summer run on June 26, and will include “Celebrity Family Feud” and “The $100,000 Pyramid.” The lineup is star-studded throughout, with Steve Harvey to host “Feud” while Michael Strahan will do the honors on “Pyramid.”

The network announced plans to roll out “Pyramid” with Strahan back in January.

“Match Game” comes from FremantleMedia North America, with Baldwin and FMNA’s Jennifer Mullin executive producing. The 10-episode series will air from 10-11 p.m. ET on Sundays.

Mullin, co-CEO of FremantleMedia North America, said: “‘Match Game’ is one of the crown jewels in our portfolio, and we’re thrilled to be bringing it to viewers in prime time. The team at ABC continue to be a terrific partner for us as we expand our game show slate, and with the charismatic and quick-witted Alec Baldwin as our host, ‘Match Game’ has all the right elements to be a fun and entertaining summer staple.”

Baldwin is donating his appearance fee from the show to the Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation, which supports arts-related charities.

match game logo

Apr 28, 2016
10:31 am

CEO of Priceline Resigns After Investigation Into Employee Relationship (AP)

The CEO of the online travel booking company Priceline has resigned, the company said today, after a company investigation found that a personal relationship he had with an employee violated Priceline’s code of conduct, the AP reports.

Priceline CEO Darren Huston “acknowledged” the relationship and “expressed regret,” according to the company. The report notes that the employee was not under Huston’s direct supervision.

“The company is searching for a permanent successor,” the AP reports. “In the meantime, chairman and former CEO Jeffery Boyd will run the company as interim CEO and president. Boyd was president and CEO of The Priceline Group Inc. from 2002 to 2013.”

Priceline, which also owns Booking.com, Kayak and Rentalcars.com, declined to provide additional details about the circumstances, but the company did say that Huston will not receive severance pay, according to the report.

priceline.com logo

Apr 28, 2016
10:21 am

Donald Trump on Track to Receive More Primary Votes Than Any Candidate in Modern GOP History — Here’s Who Currently Holds the Record (NY Post)

After a big night in which he won all five Republican primaries Tuesday, Donald Trump is expected to end up with more primary votes than any presidential candidate in modern GOP history, the New York Post reports.

Trump has piled up about 10.1 million votes so far — about 200,000 more than Mitt Romney received in the entire 2012 primary campaign — and should easily surpass the modern record of 10.8 million, set by George W. Bush in 2000, the story reports.

The article cites number crunching by Eric Ostermeier of the Smart Politics blog using figures from Congressional Quarterly. The report notes that calculations by other observers place Bush’s count as high as 12 million — but Trump is expected to surpass that total anyway, with a number of big states yet to hold primaries.

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