Jul 29, 2016
3:17 pm

Battle for Viacom Heads to Court (Variety)

The legal battle over Viacom is on its way to court after a judge in Delaware today rejected a bid to dismiss the case. The ruling hands a victory to Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and sends the battle over reconstitution of the media conglomerate’s board to trial, Variety notes.

The decision comes after Sumner Redstone moved to oust Dauman and other board members last month.

“In his ruling, Judge Andre Bouchard suggested that he wanted an independent medical examination of Redstone to determine if the 93-year-old Viacom founder had the mental capacity to make the decision to overhaul the company’s leadership,” Variety reports. “He also advised that the court needed clarity as to whether Redstone is being manipulated, possibly by his daughter Shari Redstone, or is making his own decisions.”

Bouchard commented: “What’s at stake here is nothing less than the governance of a multi-billion dollar company.”

viacom logo

Jul 29, 2016
3:01 pm

Nat Geo Releases Trailer for ‘Killing Reagan’ (Nat Geo)

Just days after news broke that would-be assassin John Hinckley is being released, National Geographic has released a video promoting “Killing Reagan,” a movie about Hinckley’s 1981 attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan.

The TV movie premieres Sunday, Oct. 16.

Here’s the trailer …

Jul 29, 2016
2:27 pm

How the Ratings for the Two Political Conventions Break Down (Nielsen, TVWeek)

The numbers are in for this week’s Democratic National Convention, with the featured event, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech on Thursday night, falling just short of the turnout for Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention a week earlier.

However, the Democrats did better overall during the four-night run of their convention than the GOP did, with the DNC posting stronger numbers over the first three nights.

Nielsen’s figures combine viewership during the climactic 10 p.m. hour on the broadcast networks, cable news channels and PBS stations. The turnout for Clinton’s speech posted a combined 33.3 million viewers, shy of the 34.9 million who watched Trump’s speech.

Here’s the breakdown by night:

Democratic National Convention

Day 1: 28.4 million viewers

Day 2: 28 million

Day 3: 27 million

Day 4: 33.3 million

Republican National Convention

Day 1: 23 million viewers

Day 2: 23 million

Day 3: 19.8 million

Day 4: 34.9 million

Jul 29, 2016
1:59 pm

Fox Picks Up Series for Second Season (TVWeek)

Fox announced that a series that premiered earlier this year will be back for a second season. The series is “American Grit,” a reality competition hosted and executive produced by WWE wrestler John Cena.

The show, which pushes participants to their limits with strength and teamwork challenges, is currently casting for season two. The series is produced by Leftfield Pictures.

“The series is looking for everyday individuals who have overcome great odds and are ready to confront their next challenge,” Fox said in the announcement. Viewers can nominate potential cast members by going to FindYourStrengthCasting.com.

“The first season of ‘American Grit’ saw a diverse group of 16 contestants driven to the brink, as they faced increasingly difficult challenges,” the announcement notes. “The teams were led by elite former military mentors, known as ‘the cadre.’ The only way to leave the competition was to give up and ring out, and in the end, one woman and one man were left standing, splitting a half million dollar grand prize.”

Clare Painter, 47, a horse trainer and fisherman from Omak, Wash., and Mark Bouquin, a timbersports athlete from Colden, N.Y., were the winners of season one.

american grit-john cena-fox

Jul 29, 2016
11:31 am

Preparations for Rio Olympics Are the ‘Worst Ever,’ Says Senior IOC Official (BBC, The Source)

With the Rio Olympics now one week away, issues about security, safety and health continue to haunt organizers. The BBC reports that John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, called preparations for the 2016 Games the “worst ever.”

“He said the IOC has had to place special experts in Rio’s organising team to make sure the Games go ahead — something that’s never happened before,” the story reports.

The BBC quotes Coates saying: “The situation is critical on the ground.”

Coates is quoted by The Source saying: “We have become very concerned. They are not ready in many, many ways. We have to make it happen and that is the IOC’s approach. You can’t walk away from this.”

The Source adds: “The Games were fought for by the Brazilians in an effort to showcase the country’s fast-growing infrastructure and quickly building world economics, despite negative headlines like last month’s arrest of 10 terrorists linked to an Islamic military group. Although Brazil’s Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo called the group ‘an amateur cell without any preparation,’ leaders particularly in France have questioned the security and safety of the Games.”

Organizers of the Rio 2016 Games released a statement saying: “The time has now passed when general discussions about the progress of preparations contribute to the journey towards the Games. It is time for us to focus on the work to be done and on engaging with society. We have a historic mission: to organise the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil and in South America. We are going to achieve this. In 2016, Rio will host excellent Games that will be delivered absolutely within the agreed timelines and budgets.”

olympics rio 2016

Jul 29, 2016
11:01 am

Tweet About Steve Buscemi Goes Viral — Here It Is (Twitter)

A tweet involving Steve Buscemi, the star of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and a key player in movies including “Reservoir Dogs” and “Barton Fink,” has gone viral. The tweet, posted earlier this week, documents a family prank by Twitter user Clare Manion’s brother Kevin, who has been swapping out family photos, one per day.

It reportedly took their mom five days to notice something was going on.

Here’s the post …

072416-tweet about Steve Buscemi

Jul 29, 2016
10:44 am

Three-Time Oscar Winner — Who’s Also a 19-Time Oscar Nominee (!), Has Two Emmys and Has Been Nominated for 29 Golden Globes, Winning Eight — Joining ‘Mary Poppins’ Sequel (Variety)

One of the most decorated performers in Hollywood history is set to join the high-profile “Mary Poppins” sequel from Disney. Variety reports that Meryl Streep is in talks to be a part of “Mary Poppins Returns,” which already has Emily Blunt and “Hamilton’s” Lin-Manuel Miranda lined up.

“If a deal closes, the family film would reunite Streep with the ‘Into the Woods’ musical team of Blunt, director Rob Marshall, and producers Marc Platt and John DeLuca,” Variety notes. “Streep and Blunt also shared the screen in ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ Marshall and John De Luca are also producing.”

With Blunt in the title role, Streep will reportedly tackle the role of Topsy, Poppins’ cousin, a supporting role that was not included in the original 1964 film. “Streep would also sing for the part, much like she did in ‘Into the Woods,’ which earned her a record 19th Oscar nomination,” the report notes.

Along with her three Oscars — for “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Iron Lady” — Streep’s many accolades include Emmys for the 1978 production “Holocaust” and 2003’s “Angels in America.”

1964-mary poppins-movie poster

Jul 29, 2016
10:29 am

Report: Justin Bieber Was Offered $5 Million to Perform During GOP Convention — and a Sports Superstar Helped Talk Him Out of It (TMZ, TVWeek, Vevo)

Pop singer Justin Bieber received an offer of $5 million to perform during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, but turned it down after NBA superstar LeBron James, who recently led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Championship, helped talk him out of it, TMZ.com reports.

“Sources connected with CAA — the talent agency which reps Bieber and received the offer — tell us a promoter contacted Justin’s people with the offer, saying he would perform for 45 minutes at a venue near Quicken Loans Arena, where the RNC was held,” TMZ reports. “We’re told the promoter assured Justin’s people the event was ‘not political’ and Justin would not be endorsing Trump or any GOP policies.”

Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, reportedly considered quitting if Bieber accepted the offer. Braun is a major Hillary Clinton supporter and has held a fundraiser for her at his home. Braun and CAA considered the offer “100 percent political,” TMZ reports. The $5 million contract, which was reportedly bankrolled by GOP donors, would have represented Bieber’s biggest payday ever.

“Our sources say the promoter told Scooter … LeBron James himself was also going to attend an event in Cleveland, welcoming the GOP without taking a political stand,” TMZ reports. “The sources tell us Justin’s people got in touch with LeBron’s people, and they were told LeBron would actually not be in Cleveland for the convention and urged Justin not to go as well.”

Jul 29, 2016
10:17 am

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: Madcap Illustrator for Mad Magazine Dies at 91 (NY Times)

An artist whose distinctive style was part of the iconic imagery that defined Mad magazine for decades has died. Jack Davis, who created countless Mad covers and features along with movie posters, album covers and the covers of Time and TV Guide, died Wednesday in St. Simons Island, Ga., The New York Times reports.

Davis died of complications from a stroke. He was 91.

“Mr. Davis was a prolific artist, drawing posters for movies like ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ and ‘The Long Goodbye,’ as well as record album covers,” The Times reports. You can see Davis’ cover for the soundtrack to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” below.

In a statement on the Mad magazine website, editor John Ficarra said: “There wasn’t anything Jack couldn’t do. Front covers, caricatures, sports scenes, monsters — his comedic range was just incredible.”

The Times notes that Davis “got his start in 1950 selling drawings to EC Comics, which published horror fiction titles like ‘Tales From the Crypt.’ Two years later, amid an outcry over the potentially harmful effects of violent comics on children, the company started what became Mad magazine, edited by Harvey Kurtzman. Mr. Davis was a member of the ‘Usual Gang of Idiots,’ the nickname for the crew that put out the magazine.”

In the statement released by Mad, the magazine’s art director, Sam Viviano, says of Davis: “There is not a humorous illustrator in the past 50 years who hasn’t been influenced by him.”

MadMadWorldJack Davis’ cover for the soundtrack to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”

Jul 29, 2016
9:44 am

Debra Messing and Blake Shelton Make Nice After Clashing Over Politics (EW, Billboard, TVWeek, Twitter)

Actress Debra Messing, best known for her long run on NBC’s “Will & Grace,” stirred things up online with a politically charged shot at country singer Blake Shelton. Messing later apologized and the two exchanged pleasantries, EW.com reports.

The trouble started when Messing took offense to comments Shelton made in an interview with Billboard. Among other things, Shelton, talking about Donald Trump, said: “Whether you love him or hate him, he says what he thinks, and he has proven that you don’t always have to be so afraid. A lot of people are pulling for him, no matter how much Hollywood fights it.”

Messing, a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton, sent out a tweet Thursday aimed at Shelton’s girlfriend, pop singer Gwen Stefani. Messing wrote: “Omg. How? @gwenstefani please talk to your man to not vote for the person who will STRIP you of your rights.”

Shelton then got busy on social media himself, tweeting: “Hey before this gets going like it always does… I haven’t enforced [endorsed] ANYBODY for president. And I not going to. I don’t do that shit.”

Messing later deleted her original tweet and extended an olive branch: “Ok- I regret commenting. My passions got the better of me. Sorry. @gwenstefani @blakeshelton.”

A few minutes later, Shelton tweeted: “Thank you sis.. I don’t endorse anybody. For this very reason!!”

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