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TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
5:21 pm
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Daytime Talk Show Canceled (Variety)

A syndicated daily talk show airing in daytime will be calling it quits after airing for two seasons. Variety reports that NBCUniversal Domestic Television’s “Harry,” hosted by Harry Connick Jr., will continue to tape through September before wrapping it up.

The report quotes a spokesperson for NBCUDT saying: “Harry is a phenomenal talent and it’s been a great partnership working with the Fox Stations and other supportive groups on this truly unique show.”

Variety notes that “Harry” delivered a 0.9 Nielsen average household rating for the week ending Jan. 28, the most recent week for which data is available.

In a statement, Connick said: “I have truly loved doing this show and appreciate your welcoming me into your homes every single day. I’m incredibly proud of the show we produced over the past two seasons. We tried to create a safe place where families could gather to be entertained, uplifted and inspired and where we could celebrate everyday women who work hard to make our world a better place.  I am truly  grateful for the opportunity and will continue to find avenues to uplift our country.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
5:19 pm
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‘Star Trek’ Captain Signs With Country Music Label (NY Post, TVWeek, YouTube)

One of the key players in the “Star Trek” universe is getting into the country music business. The New York Post’s Page Six reports that William Shatner just signed with Heartland Records Nashville.

Shatner, who has been playing “Star Trek’s” Captain Kirk since the 1960s — he’s now 86 years old — is said to be “currently working on a very special project that will be released later this year,” according to a press release quoted in the story.

Heartland Records says details will be coming soon.

“This isn’t the first musical project to come from the actor. He has released eight previous albums, most recently 2013’s ‘Ponder the Mystery,'” The Post reports. “Shatner also has a close relationship with country music star Brad Paisley and has made cameos in several of his music videos, including ‘Celebrity’ and ‘Online.’”

We encourage readers not to watch the following clip, but felt it was important that you know it exists …

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
5:08 pm
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J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Working With Mattel on New Multiplatform Project (Deadline)

A new multiplatform project is in the works at Bad Robot and Mattel after J.J. Abrams pitched Mattel President and COO Richard Dickson on a project based on “The Beastlies,” Deadline reports. Abrams and Dickson reportedly first discussed the project on the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The project is “the first of several family-friendly world creation original properties,” Deadline notes. “The Beastlies” are the creation of Los Angeles-based sculptor Leslie Levings.

“Dickson unveiled ‘The Beastlies’ in Mattel’s presentation to Wall Street analysts this morning,” Deadline reports. “Neither Dickson nor Abrams would reveal much detail about these bug-eyed colorful creatures or their ‘Beastlies’ mutliplatform rollout plan, but Bad Robot’s position as a content creator in film, TV and digital, and Mattel’s position in building and marketing global consumer products, hints strongly that big things are ahead for these tiny creatures.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
2:43 pm
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Two TV Networks in High-Stakes Battle Over Former NFL Star (NY Post, TVWeek)

One of the biggest NFL stars of the past couple of decades is the focus of a battle between ESPN and Fox. The New York Post reports that both sports operations are eager to put Peyton Manning in the broadcast booth.

The longtime Indianapolis Colts quarterback retired in 2016 after an 18-season NFL career highlighted by Super Bowl championships with both the Colts and the Denver Broncos. Widely considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he holds many of the NFL’s major career records for QBs.

“In an NFL offseason in which ESPN has already considered a total reboot of “Monday Night Football” and Fox added the Thursday night package for billions, Peyton Manning’s decision to possibly enter the TV booth remains the most intriguing storyline,” The Post reports. “Both ESPN and Fox have Manning atop their list to be their primetime game analyst, sources told The Post. Manning has been approached multiple times about becoming a TV analyst since he retired, but has been reluctant.”

Manning has his sights set on an ownership stake in an NFL team, the report notes. But in the interim, he hasn’t ruled out television.

“Before last season, Fox reached out to Manning to see if he would be interested in going into the studio or being a game analyst,” The Post reports. “As he has told all the networks annually, he did not want to become a broadcaster at that time. Fox will try again, but, at this point, it is ESPN that is being far more aggressive.”

After losing Jon Gruden to a lucrative deal to coach the Raiders, ESPN is said to be prepared to “back up the truck” for Manning, the report notes.

“Meanwhile, Manning is the first person Fox wants to talk to about its Thursday night package that it just acquired for a reported $3.3 billion for five years,” The Post adds. “This weekend, Manning is scheduled to drive the pace car at the Daytona 500, which will be televised by Fox. Top Fox executives will be at the event.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
2:21 pm
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Jeffrey Tambor Lashes Out After Being Fired From TV Series (TVWeek)

Jeffrey Tambor had plenty to say following his official firing from the series that brought him back-to-back Emmys for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2015 and 2016. Tambor lashed out at Amazon after Amazon Studios announced that Tambor was officially booted from “Transparent.”

“I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me,” Tambor said in a statement released Thursday, after Amazon announced that it had concluded its three-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against the veteran actor.

Tambor’s statement adds: “As I have consistently stated, I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself. I also deeply regret that this ground-breaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.”

As we reported Thursday, “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway commented on Tambor’s firing, praising his two accusers — Van Barnes, Tambor’s former assistant, and Trace Lysette, one of his co-stars — for speaking up about their experiences on the show. At the time the two transgender women came forward back in November, Tambor apologized but also defended himself, insisting that he is not a predator.

Tambor aimed some of his comments in Thursday’s statement at Soloway, expressing disappointment in her for portraying him as someone who would harm the people who worked with him on the show.

“In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon,” Tambor said in the statement. “Therefore, I can only surmise that the investigation against me was deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
12:39 pm
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Olympics Ratings Slide to a 2018 Low
(Deadline, TVWeek)

NBC’s ratings for the Winter Games in PyeongChang have been either terrible or terrific, depending on who’s spinning it. A Deadline report today sizes up Thursday’s results in grim terms.

“With a 13.0/22 in metered markets on combined coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network, the Comcast-owned outlet was far off the podium on the first Thursday of the 2018 Winter Olympics,” Deadline reports. “Not only is this a low for these Games, which have slipped repeatedly in the ratings, but last night’s numbers also took a face plant from both Sochi 2014 and Vancouver 2010.”

The Deadline report follows a cheerful announcement from NBC about Wednesday’s ratings, which the network called the “most dominant Winter Games Wednesday night since Nancy and Tonya in 1994.” You can click here to read the full press release issued Thursday by NBC.

Today’s Deadline report adds: “If you take the NBC/NBCSN not-so-happy meal of last night and compare it to the February 13, 2014, first Thursday of Sochi, the 2018 Olympics are down 10% in the early ratings. Four years ago, the Winter Olympics primetime show was only seen on NBC proper (as was the case in 2010). So, trim it to just NBC 2018 vs. NBC 2014 and last night fell 22% from the equivalent night out of Russia, and 32% from the Vancouver Winter Olympics eight years ago.”

The report acknowledges that the PyeongChang games still have a long way to go before they wrap on Feb. 25, but Deadline observes that “day-in and day-out, even with all of NBC’s combos and streaming stats, a trend is emerging — and it’s downward.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
10:47 am
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Ronan Farrow Story in the New Yorker Details Alleged Donald Trump Affair With Playboy Model (New Yorker, LA Times)

“President Trump’s political troubles with alleged extramarital affairs deepened Friday with publication of new details of his reported sexual relationship with a former Playboy model,” The Los Angeles Times reports, following the publication today by the New Yorker of a report by Ronan Farrow on the alleged affair.

In handwritten notes accompanying the story, “Karen McDougal, Playboy’s 1998 Playmate of the Year, recalled having sex with Trump in 2006, a few months after his wife Melania gave birth to their son, Barron,” The Times reports.

According to McDougal’s notes, Trump and McDougal met at a pool party at the Playboy Mansion, where Trump was taping an episode of his NBC reality show “The Apprentice.”

“The New Yorker article, citing previously undisclosed texts, emails and legal records, elaborates on a Wall Street Journal report in 2016 about a deal requiring McDougal to keep quiet about the alleged affair,” The Times notes. “It included a $150,000 payment to McDougal from American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, which never printed her story about Trump. David Pecker, chairman and CEO of AMI, is a close friend of the president.”

McDougal reportedly said she was speaking out in part because of the #MeToo movement. She’s quoted in the New Yorker piece saying: “Every girl who speaks is paving the way for another.”

A White House spokesperson told the New Yorker that Trump “never had a relationship with McDougal.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
10:37 am
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Jimmy Kimmel Gets Emotional About School Shooting (TVWeek, ABC)

Jimmy Kimmel addressed the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in his opening monologue Thursday on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” becoming visibly emotional as he delivered his comments.

Kimmel played clips from Donald Trump’s response to the shooting as part of a plea for action in Washington on the issue of gun safety.

Here’s the clip …

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
10:19 am
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Stars Align for ‘Big Little Lies’ (Variety)

The stars have come out for season two of HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” with the network announcing today that Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz are all officially on board, Variety reports.

“Woodley returns as Jane Chapman, with Dern coming back as Renata Klein, and Kravitz reprising the role of Bonnie Carlson,” Variety reports. “The trio join previously announced returning cast members Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, with Meryl Streep also joining the second season as Perry’s mother.”

Woodley and Dern both received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for the first season in supporting actress categories, with Dern winning both awards, the report notes.

Variety adds: “In the second season, while processing Perry’s sudden death, Jane is trying to build a new life for herself and Ziggy. Renata is now faced with new challenges in her marriage, while Bonnie struggles with Perry’s death and is forced to face demons in her past.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 16, 2018
10:01 am
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Emmy Winner to Star in Aaron Sorkin’s New Adaptation of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ — on Broadway (EW, TVWeek)

TV mainstay Aaron Sorkin is readying a new adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” with Jeff Daniels in the lead role. Daniels is an Emmy winner (and three-time nominee) for “The Newsroom,” taking home the trophy in 2013.

Sorkin, of course, is the producer, screenwriter, director and playwright whose TV credits include not only “The Newsroom,” but also “The West Wing”  and “Sports Night.” Sorkin also has found success in features (“A Few Good Men,” “The American President,” “Moneyball,” “The Social Network”).

“Jeff Daniels, the two-time Tony-nominated actor who was last seen on Broadway in 2016’s ‘intimate Blackbird,’ will star as Atticus Finch, the heroic attorney and father figure in [Harper] Lee’s groundbreaking novel (a role famously immortalized onscreen in 1962 by Gregory Peck),” EW.com reports. “The star turn marks a reunion of sorts for Daniels and Sorkin, who tapped the actor to lead his 2012 HBO drama ‘The Newsroom,’ as well as Scott Rudin, who executive produced that series and will produce ‘Mockingbird’ on Broadway alongside Lincoln Center Theater.”

The cast, which was just announced, also includes Celia Keenan-Bolger as Scout and Will Pullen as Jem.

“Supporting the trio, a cast of true stage actors populates the world of Maycomb, Alabama, including Gideon Glick (as Dill), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (as Calpurnia), Dakin Matthews (as Judge Taylor), Stark Sands (as Horace Gilmer), Frederick Weller (as Bob Ewell), Erin Wilhelmi (as Mayella Ewell), Gbenga Akinnagbe (as Tom Robinson), Stephen McKinley Henderson, Phyllis Somerville, and Liv Rooth,” EW notes.

Tony winner Bartlett Sher will direct, with previews set to begin Nov. 1 and a Dec. 13 opening on tap. The theater is still to be announced.

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