July 29, 2014
2:47 pm

Lawmakers Seek FCC Intervention in L.A. Dodgers TV Standoff

With the L.A. Dodgers currently boasting the best record in the National League, and TV coverage of their games unavailable to many L.A. viewers, a group of Southern California lawmakers is asking the Federal Communications Commission to get involved, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Seven members of Congress led by Rep. Tony Cardenas are calling on the FCC to mediate an agreement between Time Warner Cable and distributors,” the paper reports. The move would be an effort to end a bitter dispute between TWC and other pay-TV providers over distribution of SportsNet LA, the Dodgers’ new home channel.

“Launched this year, SportsNet LA is not available in the majority of pay-TV homes in the Los Angeles market. Time Warner Cable secured rights to distribute the Dodgers-owned channel in a 25-year deal worth $8.35 billion, according to a valuation by the Dodgers and Major League Baseball,” the story reports.

“Time Warner Cable has been unable to land carriage agreements with other distributors serving the market including DirecTV, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Verizon FiOS,” the report notes. “Only Time Warner Cable subscribers have access to the channel, which means about 70% of the market has been unable to see Dodger games on TV except for the handful that have been nationally televised on Fox and ESPN,”

At the center of the standoff, not surprisingly, is price — specifically the price Time Warner Cable is asking for carriage of the channel.

“According to people familiar with the talks, Time Warner Cable wants more than $4 a month per subscriber in the first year with the price rising steadily through the life of the deal. Distributors including DirecTV have said they want flexibility to offer the channel only to subscribers who want it and not all subscribers,” the Times reports.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Cardenas wrote: “Consumers deserve the opportunity to watch their program of choice. The ongoing stalemate between Time Warner Cable and other pay-TV providers has reached a point where mediation by the FCC is necessary.”

Along with Cardenas, the letter was signed by Democratic House members Lucille Roybal-Allard, Judy Chu, Alan Lowenthal, Linda Sanchez, Janice Hahn and Julia Brownley.

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July 29, 2014
2:27 pm

Is It Just a Coincidence That a ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Poster Looks Like the 9/11 Attack — and the Movie Opens on 9/11? Here It Is — Decide for Yourself

Paramount is getting some heat over a poster that some observers think looks a lot like the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Twin Towers in New York — for a movie that, coincidentally or not, opens Sept. 11. reports that the fuss is all about a promotional poster from Paramount Australia for the Sept. 11 opening in that country of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

“The poster showcases the four Ninja Turtles freefalling from a burning (and possibly exploding) skyscraper, with the film’s Australia release date in fine print,” the story reports. “Problem is, that release is scheduled for September 11. It was posted to both the Facebook and Twitter accounts and has since been removed.”

The release of the poster sparked an uproar on Twitter. The story posts a few examples, including these tweets:

“Nice PR fail by Paramount Australia. (HINT: Look at the art and then release date)”

“Well that is a rather unfortunate poster / release date combo #tmnt”

“Bad Marketing Timing: Paramount releases this poster in Australia before realizing a 9/11 release date. #doublecheck”

The report notes that Paramount had not commented on the controversy. The movie, which stars Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson and Johnny Knoxville, opens Aug. 8 in the U.S.

Here’s the poster …

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July 29, 2014
2:17 pm

ABC’s All-’Bachelorette’ Lineup Claims a Prime-Time Win

ABC reaped prime-time ratings gold out of three hours of “Bachelorette”-related programming Monday night, eclipsing reality-heavy lineups on a number of rival broadcast networks, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo. reports that the two-hour “Bachelorette” finale delivered a 1.9 average in viewers 18-49, up one-tenth of a ratings point from last week but a hefty seven-tenths below last year’s finale. The 10 p.m. wrap-up show “The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose” posted a higher average than the finale itself, a 2.1, down four-tenths from the year-ago number.

Fox and NBC finished in a tie for second place for prime time overall, with both networks running all reality shows. Fox’s “MasterChef” ticked down one-tenth from last week’s season high to a 2.0 average in 18-49, while “Hotel Hell” held steady with a 1.5.

NBC’s two-hour “American Ninja Warrior” matched ABC’s “Bachelorette” wrap-up show for highest-rated program of the night on broadcast prime with a 2.1 average in the 18-49 demo, while NBC’s premiere of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” managed only a 1.4 at 8 p.m. That was down one-tenth from last year’s premiere of “Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls.”

CBS sat out the reality derby with a mostly repeat lineup and fell off the pace, finishing fifth overall behind its big four rivals and Univision. CBS’s only fresh program was “Under the Dome” at 10 p.m., which equaled the series-low 1.5 average from last week in adults 18-49.

For prime time overall, ABC’s 2.0 average was the best of the bunch in the 18-49 demo, followed by NBC and Fox (both with 1.8 averages), Univision (1.4) and CBS (1.1). ABC scored a comfortable win in total viewers with 7.7 million, topping NBC (5.4 million), CBS (5.0 million), Fox (4.8 million) and Univision (3.4 million).


July 29, 2014
2:05 pm

‘Jersey Shore’ Star Headed for Anger Management Classes

A former star of the hit MTV reality show “Jersey Shore” is headed to anger management classes. People magazine reports that Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino agreed to take part in the classes.

The agreement was part of a deal stemming from assault charges following a fight in June with his brother at their tanning salon, the story notes.

“A municipal court judge Monday accepted the deal and adjourned the matter for three months. If Sorrentino successfully completes the counseling program, the charge against him could be downgraded,” the piece notes.

Sorrentino and his brother attended the court hearing. Their tanning salon will serve as the setting for a new reality show about the family, the story adds.

“No matter what happens, I love my family, and I’ve tried so hard to help them,” Sorrentino told the publication. “They know that. It’s tricky. People say, ‘Don’t get involved with business and family,’ but at the end of the day it’s the most rewarding thing you can do with your family.”

mike situation sorrentino.pngMike “The Situation” Sorrentino

July 29, 2014
1:36 pm

Cable News Channel Looking at Another Round of Layoffs

After a round of job cuts just three months ago, a cable news channel is contemplating further cuts. TVNewser reports that Al Jazeera America may follow the April layoffs by eliminating additional positions.

Al Jazeera America Chief Executive Ehab Al Shihabi said at a meeting last week that the network is considering more layoffs, the story reports, quoting a network spokesperson saying: “Like any television network we make decisions based on our programming schedule. We’re always looking at our staffing levels. We have a staff of over 800.”

About 20 jobs may be cut, which would follow layoffs of about a dozen staff members in April, the piece notes. Despite a recent spike in ratings from the network’s Gaza conflict coverage, the network overall has been struggling in the ratings.

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July 29, 2014
9:07 am

Veteran TV and Film Actor Dead at 81

A veteran actor known for a long string of television roles, who also appeared in major feature films and was a recording artist and musical theater performer, has died. Variety reports that James Shigeta, who was one of the first prominent Asian-American actors, died Monday at 81.

“Though largely a TV actor who guest-starred on dozens of shows, he appeared memorably in hit 1988 action film ‘Die Hard,’ in which he played executive Joseph Takagi, who refuses to give up the security code to the skyscraper’s bank vault when a group of German terrorists seizes the building. He was shot in the head by the group’s leader, Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman,” the story reports.

His appearances on television spanned the 1950s through the 2000s, including a string of guest roles on such TV staples as “Hawaii Five-0,” “Perry Mason,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Ironside,” “Kung Fu,” “The Love Boat” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.” His last TV credit was in 2005, in the series “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” where Shigeta played Old Wanderer.

“In the big-budget WWII film ‘Midway’ (1976), which told the story of the key battle from both American and Japanese points of view, Shigeta was featured prominently in the role of Vice Admiral Nagumo, whose despair at Japan’s loss in the battle is moving,” Variety adds.

Shigeta had a starring role in the 1961 feature “Flower Drum Song,” which showcased his singing and dancing talents. He appeared most recently in the 2009 movie “The People I’ve Slept With.”

“Shigeta was born in Honolulu and studied acting at NYU, then joined the Marines, where he entertained troops during the Korean War,” Variety reports. “He became a singing star in Japan despite not knowing any Japanese, and won first place on ‘Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour,’ the ‘American Idol’ of its day.”

He won a Golden Globe in 1960 for most promising male newcomer, sharing the award with Barry Coe, Troy Donahue and George Hamilton.

james shigeta.pngJames Shigeta

July 29, 2014
9:02 am

A Familiar TV Personality From the 1980s and 1990s Will Soon Be Back on the Small Screen

A show is gaining momentum that will mark the return to television for a personality who was a familiar presence on the tube back in the 1980s and 1990s. John Tesh, known for his long run as a co-host of “Entertainment Tonight,” is readying his return to TV with a new syndicated lifestyle show called “Intelligence for Your Life.”

TVNewsCheck reports that the program has hit 83% clearance, lining up stations in top markets including New York’s WLNY-TV and Los Angeles’ KTTV.

The show will generally air during the early-morning hours, with WLNY programming the show for 7 a.m. on Monday through Friday, and on 6 a.m. on Saturday. “Intelligence for Your Life” will debut in September.

“A lot of stations see this as a news-adjacent show,” Tesh said. “It’s a show with news you can use that will take viewers right into the news.”

The program is based on Tesh’s radio show of 12 years, which airs on about 300 stations. His wife, Connie Sellecca, and son, Gib Gerard, will co-host the half-hour show. Some stations will air two episodes consecutively to create an hour-long block.

Tesh, who was a part of “ET” from 1986-1996, is producing “Intelligence for Your Life” through his Tesh Media Group. In addition to his television and radio work, Tesh is known as a prolific recording artist, piano player and composer.

john tesh.pngJohn Tesh

July 29, 2014
8:39 am

Child Molestation Suspect Killed in Shootout After Being Spotted on TV Show

A man who was wanted on child molestation charges was killed in a shootout with police after being showcased on a television show. The New York Times reports that the man, Charles Mozdir, was featured this month on CNN’s “The Hunt.”

Mozdir, who was wanted on charges in California, was killed in a shootout in New York City, after someone saw him on the show and called to provide a tip about his whereabouts, the story reports.

Mozdir was reportedly working in a Greenwich Village smoke shop when two federal marshals and a New York City police detective entered the store after receiving the tip, the story says. The suspect reportedly shot and wounded the marshals and the police detective before they fired back and killed him.

The officer was being treated at a hospital and was in stable condition, while the marshals had non-life-threatening injuries, the piece notes.

“Mr. Mozdir, according to ‘The Hunt,’ was close friends with the couple in California whose child, now 7, he would eventually be accused of molesting. He even photographed their wedding,” the story notes.

Mozdir had reportedly been on the run since 2012.

charles mozdir.pngCharles Mozdir

July 29, 2014
8:11 am

Freddie Prinze Jr. Unloads on Kiefer Sutherland (Here’s the Audio) … and Sutherland Responds

Actor Freddie Prinze Jr. gave Kiefer Sutherland what E! Online calls an “epic diss,” complaining while at Comic-Con that working with Sutherland made him want to quit acting and that Sutherland was “the most unprofessional dude in the world.”

Prinze, who worked with Sutherland on “24” in 2010, said, “I did ’24.’ It was terrible. I hated every moment of it. Kiefer was the most unprofessional dude in the world. That’s not me talking trash; I’d say it to his face. Everybody that’s worked with him has said that.”

He continued, “I just wanted to quit the business after that. So, I sort of just stopped.”

Sutherland’s representative responded in a statement, saying: “Kiefer worked with Freddie Prinze, Jr. more than 5 years ago, and this is the first he has heard of Freddie’s grievances. Kiefer enjoyed working with Freddie and wishes him the best.”

Audio of Prinze’s comments also includes a few choice shots at Sutherland’s height.

Here’s the audio, posted by

July 29, 2014
7:57 am

TV Series Sued by Murder Victim’s Family Members

Family members of a murder victim whose autopsy photo is a part of the opening montage of a television series have filed a lawsuit over the use of the photo.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq., reports that the suit concerns the former NBC and TNT series “Southland.”

“A woman and her daughter filed a lawsuit Monday charging an autopsy photo of their son/brother who was murdered that is part of a montage at the beginning of the TV show ‘Southland’ violates their privacy, has inflicted great distress and caused other problems,” the story reports. “The suit in Los Angeles Superior Court claims the picture of their dead relative was misappropriated and has unjustly enriched the defendants.”

The suit names as defendants Warner Bros. TV, producer John Wells, NBC, TNT, the city of Los Angeles, the county of Los Angeles and Warner Home Video. It was filed by Hilda Abarca and Jessica Abarca “on their own behalf and as successor to the late Andy Nelson Abarca,” THR reports.

The lawsuit says Andy Nelson Abarca was murdered on Sept. 28, 2005. “In mid-September 2013 the plaintiffs say they saw his autopsy photo at the beginning of ‘Southland,’ apparently taken while his body was in the custody of the county coroner,” the piece reports. “They had no knowledge of the photo and never authorized its release, per the suit.”

The photo’s use on “Southland” has caused them to suffer problems ranging from anxiety to loss of dignity, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit is seeking damages of $750 for each unauthorized use, as well as punitive damages and an injunction to stop using the photo.

A spokesman for Warner Bros. TV said the company hadn’t yet been served with the lawsuit, and so had no comment.

The TV series aired its first season on NBC in 2009 before going on to a four-season run on TNT, ending in April 2013.


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