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TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
3:21 pm
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Emmy-Nominated Actress Dies (THR, TVWeek, YouTube)

An actress and singer who was known as one of the most stylish actresses in Hollywood in the 1950s has died. Lola Albright died Thursday at a home in Toluca Lake, Calif., according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 92.

Albright became a star in feature films in the late 1940s and early 1950s, then transitioned to a long career in television. She is probably best known for her run as the sultry singer Edie Hart on the detective series “Peter Gunn” from 1958-1961. She received an Emmy nomination for the role in 1959.

“While the series was on the air, Albright released the album ‘Dreamsville,’ backed by Henry Mancini’s orchestra (he, of course, composed the theme song for ‘Peter Gunn’), in 1959. She had done an album two years earlier, ‘Lola Wants You,'” THR reports.

Her other TV work included a stint on “Peyton Place,” where she filled in for Dorothy Malone in the role of Constance after Malone suffered a pulmonary embolism. Albright also had a run on “Burke’s Law” in the mid-1960s and a recurring role on “The Bob Cummings Show” in the 1950s, along with guest appearances on “Gunsmoke,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Wagon Train,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and many other shows.

“On the big screen, the blue-eyed blonde was memorable in a leading role as an aging burlesque stripper who seduces a teenager (Scott Marlowe) in ‘A Cold Wind in August’ (1961), and she received the best actress award at the Berlin Film Festival for portraying Tuesday Weld’s suicidal mother in ‘Lord Love a Duck’ (1966),” THR reports.

Albright’s other feature film work included a memorable performance in the Kirk Douglas boxing classic “Champion” (1949) and the 1950 film “The Good Humor Man,” in which she played opposite her future husband, Jack Carson.

Here’s a clip of Albright performing “How High the Moon” on “Peter Gunn” …

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
3:17 pm
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Chilling Trailer Released for ‘Casting JonBenet’ (Netflix)

Netflix has posted a chilling — one might even say disturbing — trailer for a film that blurs the line between documentary and drama in examining the death of 6-year-old beauty pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey.

“Casting JonBenet,” from director Kitty Green, arrives on the streaming service on April 28.

Here’s the trailer …

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
1:19 pm
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Drama Series Parts Ways With Exec Producer (Deadline, TVWeek)

A drama series that has yet to make it to the air is already undergoing a key change behind the cameras. Deadline.com reports that “Counterpart,” which has a two-season direct-to-series order at Starz, is parting ways with Amy Berg.

Production of the series is currently between the first and second 10-episode seasons, having recently wrapped shooting in Los Angeles on season one.

Created by Justin Marks, the sci-fi thriller stars J.K. Simmons, Olivia Williams, Harry Lloyd and Ulrich Thomsen. Berg’s departure is a mutual decision among all parties, according to the report.

The series comes from from MRC, Gilbert Films and Anonymous Content. Marks is showrunner on the series. Morten Tyldum is directing the first episode.

“Berg will still be credited as an executive producer on Season 1 alongside Marks, Tyldum, Gary Gilbert with Gilbert Films, Jordan Horowitz, Keith Redmon and Bard Dorros with Anonymous Content. Simmons also serves as a producer,” Deadline notes.

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
1:04 pm
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Netflix Inks Four-Movie Deal With Former ‘SNL’ Star (AP, Netflix)

Netflix has just signed a new deal with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member turned movie star Adam Sandler. The AP reports that the streaming service has signed on to make four more feature films with Sandler.

“As part of a previous four-movie deal, Sandler has already produced and starred in two films for Netflix,” the story reports. “While neither ‘Ridiculous 6’ nor ‘The Do-Over’ received anything close to good reviews, Netflix said Friday they are the biggest film releases for the service. Sandler’s next Netflix film, ‘Sandy Wexler,’ debuts April 14.”

The report notes: “To date, the majority of Netflix original films have been smaller dramas or documentaries. But some of its most ambitious and priciest acquisitions are due out this year, including ‘War Machine’ with Brad Pitt and ‘Bright’ with Will Smith.”

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
11:11 am
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Pay-Cable Series Canceled (THR)

A drama series running on pay cable has been canceled. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Cinemax pulled the plug on the Steven Soderbergh medical series “The Knick.”

“The news is not surprising and comes 15 months after the season-two finale, which killed off star Clive Owen,” THR notes.

In a statement, HBO miniseries and Cinemax programming president Kary Antholis confirmed the move, writing: “After a critically acclaimed two-season run of ‘The Knick’ on Cinemax, we will not be going forward with additional episodes of the series. Despite our pride in and affection for the series as well as our respect for and gratitude toward Steven Soderbergh and his team, we have decided to return Cinemax to its original primetime series fare of high-octane action dramas, many of which will be internationally co-produced.”

Soderbergh directed all 20 episodes of the period drama, and executive produced with creators Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, along with Owen, Gregory Jacobs and Michael Sugar.

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
10:39 am
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Why Disney Is Suing the Makers of Edible Cake Frosting — ‘Unauthorized Kitsch’? (THR)

Let them eat cake — but not if the frosting is in violation of any Disney copyrights. The Hollywood Reporter’s THR, Esq. reports that Disney joined forces this week with Sanrio to file a lawsuit against Michigan resident George Wilson, who the companies say is creating cakes bearing their intellectual property.

The complaint accuses Wilson’s business of selling “unlicensed and counterfeit edible cake frosting sheets and related items, which incorporate unauthorized likenesses of animated or live-action characters or other logos.”

“The complaint isn’t particularly specific, but Disney and Sanrio note they have created such characters as Hello Kitty, Luke Skywalker, Iron Man and Captain America,” THR reports, adding that the suit is being handled by J. Andrew Coombs.

“Some intellectual property lawyers specialize in pursuing typeface font infringement while other attorneys appear to have identified graffiti infringement as the next great legal hot zone,” THR notes. “Coombs handles lots of cases in the area of unauthorized kitsch. In the past, he’s represented studios over unlicensed cellphone charms, pet paraphernalia, party goods and supplies, vinyl bracelets, and more.”

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
8:57 am
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New Candidate in the Running for Top Job at Sony (Deadline)

A veteran executive with a strong background in television is emerging as a candidate for the Sony Pictures executive job. In an exclusive, Deadline.com reports that former Fox Networks Group Chairman Tony Vinciquerra, who also worked at Hearst and CBS, is that candidate.

The report notes that Vinciquerra is the senior adviser for the technology, media and telecom sectors at TPG Capital. “He also serves as a director of STX Entertainment, Pandora, Univision Holdings and at Qualcomm; he was a previous director at both DirecTV and Motorola,” Deadline adds.

“Meetings are still going on over the next two to three weeks, and we hear that outgoing Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton is helping Sony Corp. President and CEO Kazuo Hirai in pulling in legitimate candidates,” Deadline notes.

A spokesperson for Sony declined to comment.

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
7:59 am
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How Cable Giant Comcast Can Now Offer Services Nationwide if It Chooses to Do So (Bloomberg)

“Comcast Corp. has acquired rights from cable network owners to offer their channels nationwide, according to people familiar with the negotiations, giving the biggest U.S. cable operator a backup plan if rival online-TV services catch on with consumers,” Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg’s sources say the rights allow Comcast for the first time to sell video service outside its regional territories, which include Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia. The sources asked not to be identified because they are discussing private information.

“In most cases, Comcast acquired the rights through ‘most favored nation’ clauses in contracts, which let the company sell channels in the same places as new online distributors,” Bloomberg notes. “Since Comcast doesn’t sell traditional cable-TV service in markets like New York and Los Angeles, the rights mean the company could presumably offer a package of channels as an online-streaming service in those cities.”

The report adds: “In some scenarios, Comcast asked for the rights as part of broader carriage negotiations with programmers. For now at least, Comcast has no plans to offer a video service nationwide because it still sees opportunity to gain cable-TV subscribers in its footprint, according to a person close to the company.”

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
7:44 am
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Why Amy Schumer Dropped Out of the ‘Barbie’ Movie (Variety, TVWeek, Deadline, Instagram)

The casting of Amy Schumer in Sony’s upcoming Barbie movie — the first live-action adaptation of the famed Mattel doll — created an uproar when it was first announced, with an online feeding frenzy focusing on Schumer’s weight and on “fat shaming” on social media. But now that Schumer has reportedly dropped out of the project, the reason is something much more mundane: scheduling conflicts.

“The big screen adaptation of Mattel’s iconic toy line was expected to start production this summer on June 23, but Schumer’s busy schedule includes a lengthy promotional tour for her new Fox comedy ‘Snatched,’ which opens in May, as well as an upcoming shoot for Rebecca Miller’s ‘She Came to Me’ opposite Steve Carell,” Variety reports.

The report adds: “Sony needed to stick to its June 29, 2018, release date since Mattel already has merchandise and product cycles in motion — shifting the production to accommodate Schumer would have put on a strain on other partners on the film, according to insiders.”

In a statement, Schumer said: “Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts. The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”

A spokesperson for Sony confirmed the news in a statement, saying: “We respect and support Amy’s decision. We look forward to bringing Barbie to the world and sharing updates on casting and filmmakers soon.”

Deadline.com reported back in December that the choice of Schumer, who has a larger body type than the perpetually slim Barbie, was a good fit given the movie’s concept.

“Aside from the fact that she has Barbie hair, Schumer’s growing stature as a role model for female empowerment fits perfectly with how the film will exploit Barbie’s evolution into dolls of different sizes and shapes,” Deadline reported at the time.

The Deadline report added: “Schumer will play a character who lives in Barbieland, among all of the various Barbie characters beloved by doll collectors (there are dolls covering over 180 careers). In a fish-out-of-water story reminiscent of films like ‘Splash’ and ‘Big,’ Schumer’s Barbie gets kicked out, basically because she’s not perfect enough, is a bit eccentric and doesn’t quite fit the mold. She then goes on an adventure in the real world and by the time she returns to Barbieland to save it, she has gained the realization that perfection comes on the inside, not the outside, and that the key to happiness is belief in oneself, free of the obligation to adhere to some unattainable standard of perfection.”

Once the online fat shaming cranked up, Schumer took to Instagram to shout down the haters. The actress posted a photo of herself in a bathing suit (you can see it below) along with a lengthy message in which she defended her decision to play Barbie.

“Very very honored to be nominated for 2 Grammys and to be considered to play an important and evolving icon,” Schumer wrote at the time. “Is it fat shaming if you know you’re not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don’t think so. I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love. Where’s the shame? It’s not there. It’s an illusion. When I look in the mirror I know who I am. Im a great friend, sister, daughter and girlfriend. I’m a badass comic headlining arenas all over the world and making tv and movies and writing books where I lay it all out there and I’m fearless like you can be. Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support and again my deepest sympathy goes out to the trolls who are in more pain than we will ever understand. I want to thank them for making it so evident that I am a great choice. It’s that kind of response that let’s you know something’s wrong with our culture and we all need to work together to change it.”

Amy Schumer (Instagram post from December 2016)

TVBIZWIRE
Mar 24, 2017
7:09 am
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Was Artie Lange Fired From HBO Show? Two Different Versions of the Story Have Surfaced (NY Times, TVWeek, HBO)

Comedian Artie Lange may or may not have been fired, depending on whose version of the story you believe. On the heels of his arrest earlier this month on drug charges, The New York Times reports that Lange is saying he was fired from his recurring role on HBO’s “Crashing.”

Meanwhile, HBO and Judd Apatow, who is an executive producer on the series, say Lange has not been fired.

“A story line in the series depicts Pete Holmes, the show’s creator who also plays a version of himself, trying to keep Mr. Lange’s character from relapsing,” The Times reports. “In an interview with the radio station WOR, Mr. Lange told the hosts, Len Berman and Todd Schnitt, that he had been let go. When asked why, Mr. Lange said, ‘What have we been talking about? I might go to jail.’”

However, The Times notes that a spokeswoman for Lange said he had not been fired, declining to elaborate.

Meanwhile, HBO released a statement saying: “HBO has not fired Artie Lange. ‘Crashing’ has completed production for Season 1 and has been recently renewed for a second season. Scripts for Season 2 have not yet been written.”

The Times notes that Holmes was supportive of Lange after Lange’s arrest and said Lange would “absolutely” be a part of the show’s second season.

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