Sep 26, 2016
3:59 pm

CBS Claims Premiere Week Victory (TVeek)

With most of the numbers in now for the fall broadcast season’s premiere week, CBS is claiming a ratings win and touting a number of achievements.

CBS averaged 11 million total viewers, which the network says is the largest opening week audience for any network in five years. The announcement cites Nielsen preliminary live plus same day ratings, live + 3-day ratings and the network’s own estimates.

The network’s three new series, “Bull,” “Kevin Can Wait” and “MacGyver,” each opened to more than 10 million viewers, with “Bull” claiming the title of TV’s No. 1 new drama after opening to 15.5 million viewers.

“Kevin Can Wait’s” 11 million viewers makes it television’s top new comedy, according to the announcement. Meanwhile, with 10.9 million viewers, “MacGyver” notched CBS’s best Friday time period premiere in 11 years.

The network said 11 of its series will average more than 10 million viewers, more than the other broadcast networks combined.

“The Big Bang Theory” topped 20 million viewers in Live + 3-Day, while “Bull” and “NCIS” each topped 19 million in Live + 3-Day.

CBS said it was on track to post its largest premiere week margin of victory since 2012.


Sep 26, 2016
3:41 pm

Why MTV Is Bringing Back a Familiar Title for One Day Only (TVWeek)

MTV announced today that it will bring a classic franchise back to the channel for one day this week. MTV is reviving its “TRL” title this Tuesday, Sept. 27, in connection with National Voter Registration Day.

The “TRL” title, which stood for “Total Request Live” back when the show was a regular part of MTV’s programming lineup from 1998-2008, will stand for “Total Registration Live” this time around.

The network calls this week’s “TRL” program “an empowering live special that will rally Millennials to register to vote. The one-hour live show will broadcast from the home of ‘TRL’ on Tuesday, September 27, at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT on MTV and simulcast on MTV.com, the MTV App, MTV’s Facebook and YouTube pages, and ElectThis.com.”

MTV adds: “The special will include Grammy-nominated R&B superstar and Respect My Vote! Ambassador, Ty Dolla $ign performing ‘Campaign,’ ‘No Justice’ and ‘Zaddy’ from his brand new project ‘CAMPAIGN,’ appearances by model and Rock The Vote spokesperson Kendall Jenner, Director, Producer and Writer Joss Whedon, Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello, rapper Vic Mensa, actress Natalia Dyer, actor and singer Mack Wilds and more, along with MTV’s Nessa who will host. Also on-hand will be MTV News’ Senior Political Correspondent Ana Marie Cox and Senior National Correspondent Jamil Smith.”

The network adds that the programming move “comes at a time when the Millennial vote will be a key deciding factor in the outcome of the 2016 election. Original research from MTV Insights estimates that if no Millennials vote, Donald Trump will win with 44 percent of the vote vs. 41 percent for Hillary Clinton. If all Millennials vote, Clinton wins 44 percent to Trump’s 39 percent. And if only half of Millennials vote, the race will remain too close to call (43 percent Clinton vs. 41 percent Trump).*”

*Source: MTV Insights/YouGov/Economist Sept 10-13, N=926 Registered Voters. Projections assume all non-millennials who intend to vote do vote.


Sep 26, 2016
3:01 pm

‘Godfather of Gore’ Dead at 87 (AP, YouTube)

The filmmaker who became known as the “godfather of gore” has died. The AP reports that Herschell Gordon Lewis died in his sleep this morning. He was 87.

Lewis pioneered the horror genre known as the “splatter film” in the 1960s, with “Blood Feast” and “Two Thousand Maniacs” among his best-known directorial efforts.

Lewis, who also worked in advertising, financed most of his own films. His other movies included “A Taste of Blood,” ”The Wizard of Gore,” ”The Gruesome Twosome,” ”She-Devils on Wheels” and “Scum of the Earth!”

He is said to have inspired filmmakers including John Waters, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino and James Gunn.


Sep 26, 2016
2:44 pm

‘Modern Family’ to Feature TV’s First Transgender Child Actor (Variety)

The ABC sitcom “Modern Family” will be breaking ground this week with the casting of television’s first openly transgender child actor in Wednesday’s episode, Variety reports.

“In the upcoming episode — entitled ‘A Stereotypical Day’ — parents Cameron ‘Cam’ (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) permit their daughter Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) to have her transgender friend Tom over for a play-date,” Variety reports. “Both parents are filled with pride that they have done well in raising an accepting and open-minded child. But that pride quickly diminishes when Lily insults her friend, which they use as a teachable moment.”

Transgender actor Jackson Millarker, 8, will play Lily’s playmate, Tom.

The report notes that other shows, including “Orange Is The New Black” and “Nashville,” have transgender characters played by transgender actors, and that transgender teen Jazz Jennings, 15, has her own reality show on TLC, “I Am Jazz.”

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Sep 26, 2016
1:21 pm

TV Veteran to Replace Charles Osgood on CBS’s ‘Sunday Morning’ (NY Times)

A well-known TV personality has been chosen to replace Charles Osgood as anchor of the CBS program “Sunday Morning.” The New York Times reports that Jane Pauley will take over the job starting Oct. 9.

Pauley will become only the third anchor on the show, which launched in 1979.

“For Ms. Pauley, 65, a return to the anchor role for a morning television show represents an unexpected late-career comeback,” The Times reports. “And by selecting her instead of a younger up-and-comer, CBS is clearly trying to ease the transition from Mr. Osgood, 83, whose folksy delivery has been a mainstay on the show for more than two decades.”

Pauley was a fixture on NBC’s “Today” show in the late ’70s and ’80s after she replaced Barbara Walters as anchor when Pauley was just 25. She went on to host “Dateline” for more than 10 years.


Sep 26, 2016
11:01 am

Kim Kardashian, After Some Indecision, Now Says Which Presidential Candidate She Backs (NY Post)

We finally know who Kim Kardashian will be voting for in the presidential election. Kardashian, who was backing Hillary Clinton more than a year ago, appears to be back in the Clinton camp, The New York Post’s Page Six reports.

The news follows a period when Kardashian was said to be wavering after Caitlyn Jenner spoke at the Republican convention.

Kardashian was reportedly quoted by Wonderland magazine saying: “At first I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m so Hillary (Clinton),’ but I had a long political call with Caitlyn (Jenner) last night about why she’s voting Trump. I’m on the fence.”

Kardashian clarified her position over the weekend, writing on her website that she had put some thought into the election and concluding: “I found that without a doubt, I stand with Hillary. I’m with her. I believe Hillary will best represent our country and is the most qualified for the job. This year, I’m not just voting for myself, but also for my children, and I took that into careful consideration when I made my decision.”

Sep 26, 2016
10:57 am

He Drew Millions of Americans to the Game He So Loved: Arnold Palmer Dies at 87. Read Our Tribute (NY Times, Golf Digest, TVWeek)

By Chuck Ross

“Arnold Palmer, the champion golfer whose full-bore style of play, thrilling tournament victories and magnetic personality inspired an American golf boom, attracted a following known as Arnie’s Army and made him one of the most popular athletes in the world, died on Sunday, according to a spokesman for his business enterprises,” reports The New York Times.

Palmer was 87.

The Times continues, “From 1958 through 1964, Palmer was the charismatic face of professional golf and one of its dominant players. In those seven seasons, he won seven major titles: four Masters, one United States Open and two British Opens. With 62 victories on the PGA Tour, he ranks fifth, behind Sam Snead, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan. He won 93 tournaments worldwide, including the 1954 United States Amateur.

“But it was more than his scoring and shotmaking that captivated the sports world. It was how he played. He did not so much navigate a course as attack it. If his swing was not classic, it was ferocious: He seemed to throw all 185 pounds of his muscular 5-foot-10 body at the ball. If he did not win, he at least lost with flair.”

Says Golf Digest, “Arnold Palmer, by acclamation the most important golfer in the game’s history, died Sunday at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center of complications from heart problems at the age of 87. He had been admitted to the hospital on Thursday and was scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure for his heart on Monday morning.”

To read a piece I wrote in tribute to Palmer several years ago titled “To Play the Game With an Unreachable Perfection: Arnold Palmer, My Dad, My Brother and Me,” please click here.



Sep 26, 2016
10:44 am

The NY Times Profiles Gabriel Sherman, the Reporter Who Doggedly Covered Roger Ailes (NY Times, Golf Digest, TVWeek)

Reporter and author Gabriel Sherman, whose coverage of the fall from grace of former Fox News chief Roger Ailes has been almost as big a part of the story as the story itself, is profiled in The New York Times, which says Sherman’s coverage placed him “at the vanguard of the biggest media story of the year, a distinction he earned by having the nerve and focus to forage at the hostile perimeter of the country’s most successful cable news operation.”

The Times adds: “A high tolerance for stress has helped, too. In mid-July Politico reported that Mr. Ailes had once talked about dispatching thugs to beat up Mr. Sherman. It is unclear how serious he was. But now that Mr. Ailes had lost his job, it seemed possible that he would also lose his famously volatile temper. So Mr. Sherman and the editors at New York hired some muscle” in preparation for an MSNBC interview with Sherman, who showed up with a bodyguard.

“Mr. Sherman had come to discuss his New York magazine cover article about the end of Roger Ailes’ career as the chairman of Fox News over allegations of serial sexual harassment,” The Times reports. “It is just a fraction of what Mr. Sherman has written in the six years he has covered the cable TV titan, a canon that includes a 500-plus-page biography, ‘The Loudest Voice in the Room,’ published in 2014.”

The Times adds that in some ways “Mr. Ailes’ noisy exit represents a second chance for Mr. Sherman, an opportunity he has seized. In the months since the former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson went public with her sexual harassment lawsuit, he has produced a gusher of words that seem to nail every detail of this tawdry story.”

We encourage readers to click on the link to The New York Times near the top of this story to read the full profile.


Sep 26, 2016
10:31 am

Verizon ‘Livid’ Over Not Being Told of Yahoo Hack During Bidding Process (NY Post)

Verizon’s $4.8 billion deal to acquire Yahoo could be scuttled over Yahoo’s handling of a massive 2014 hack that came to light last week. The New York Post cites sources saying Verizon only learned of the hack last Tuesday, a few days before Yahoo went public with it.

The report quotes a source clost to both parties saying: “Verizon is livid they were not informed during due diligence, and infighting … is impacting the Yahoo deal and this could be the escape clause.”

The hack reportedly exposed information on about 500 million user accounts.

“It is unclear when Yahoo knew of the problem, although several reports said Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer knew in July of an earlier, separate possible hack,” The Post reports. “That attempted information hijack turned out to be untrue, but Yahoo’s probe eventually tuned up the larger, 500 million account hack.”

The report adds: “Media and tech bankers are already whispering that Verizon wants to get out of the Yahoo deal — and if they do they may pursue Twitter, which is now in play, sources said.”


Sep 26, 2016
10:27 am

Tonight’s Debate Is Expected to Be the Most-Watched Political Event in U.S. History (Time, Variety, engadget)

Tonight’s presidential debate, the first of three scheduled debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, is expected to be the most-watched political event in U.S. History, Time reports, with as many as 100 million viewers expected to tune in.

“While the 90-minute debate itself will be have no ads, networks are aggressively selling pre-show and post-debate analysis show ads,” the report notes.

Variety reports that CBS is asking $200,000 to $225,000 for a 30-second spot in its post-debate coverage, along the lines of a typical prime-time program.

Some networks are reporting they’re sold out or almost sold out of ad spots for all three debates.

Time adds: “But with Facebook, Twitter, and other digital outlets reaching as many, if not more, people than traditional TV, ad buyers are looking to non-traditional ways to get their election season messages across — including the candidates themselves. Trump launched two Snapchat filters for the debate, one with a banner reading ‘Donald J. Trump vs Crooked Hillary.’ Clinton’s campaign announced it has at least $30 million earmarked for digital ads.”

While the debate will be carried across multiple broadcast outlets, engadget notes that digital platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook will also be involved.

“This is the first American presidential debate where Facebook Live will play a part, and you’ll have no shortage of choices for streaming the event on the world’s largest social network,” engadget reports. “ABC News has a deal with Facebook to livestream the debate ad-free, complete with commentary before and after (including responses to viewer questions) as well as extra details on its Facebook page. You can also expect BuzzFeed, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News, the New York Times, PBS, Telemundo and Univision to stream on Facebook as well, although you won’t necessarily get a TV-like broadcast.”

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