Jun 23, 2017
4:07 pm

ABC Cancels Series (AP, TVWeek)

ABC pulled the plug on a comedy series after a short run. An executive producer of “Downward Dog” says the freshman sitcom has been canceled, the AP reports.

The report cites executive producer Jimmy Miller, who says the series will air its last two episodes Tuesday. The show has aired only six episodes so far.

“Miller said Friday that ABC wanted to keep ‘Downward Dog’ on its schedule but that the finances couldn’t be worked out,” the AP reports.

The news comes on the heels of ABC’s exiling of another freshman show, the drama “Still Star-Crossed,” to Saturdays in a sign that the Shondaland series also won’t be back for a second season, as we reported previously.

The most recent episode of “Downward Dog,” which aired Tuesday, delivered 3.08 million total viewers, based on Nielsen Live+Same Day data.

Jun 23, 2017
4:01 pm

Store Closings Have Tripled This Year — and More Have Just Been Announced (CNN)

Stores have been closing at an alarming rate this year, with the number of closings so far this year triple what it was during the same period a year ago, CNN reports, citing an analysis by the retail think tank Fung Global Retail & Technology.

In the latest round of closings, Sears Holdings announced today that it plans to shutter another 20 stores that have been losing money — 18 Sears locations and two Kmarts.

“There have been 5,300 store closing announcements through June 20, making it the second worst year on record at the six-month mark,” CNN reports. “The worst year ever for store closings was 2008 during the Great Recession, when Credit Suisse counted 6,163 closings. But 2017 is poised to easily surpass that.”

The report notes that online shopping sites such as Amazon have taken a toll. “But brick-and-mortar stores are also suffering from overbuilding,” CNN adds. “Retail bankruptcies have also soared. There are 345 retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far this year, according to BankruptcyData.com, up 32% from the same time last year.”

“While many of the bankruptcies have been by small mom-and-pop retailers with one or two locations, plenty of major national retailers have also filed for bankruptcy,” the report adds. “RadioShack, Gymboree, Rue21 and Payless Shoes have all filed this year, and other retailers already in bankruptcy, such as The Limited, have closed all their stores.”


Jun 23, 2017
3:44 pm

Heather Graham, Two Others Join NBC Anthology Series (EW, TVWeek)

Heather Graham, who has had guest arcs on shows including “Angie Tribeca” and “Californication” in recent years, is among the latest additions to the cast of NBC’s upcoming anthology series “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.”

Entertainment Weekly reports that Graham, Elizabeth Reaser and Larry Cedar have all joined the show.

“Graham, whose TV credits include ‘Angie Tribeca,’ ‘Flowers in the Attic’ and ‘Scrubs,’ will play Judalon Smyth, a sexy and emotionally fragile woman who is having an affair with Dr. Oziel, the brothers’ therapist. She’s desperate for Oziel to leave his wife and craves his attention,” EW reports.

“Reaser, meanwhile, will play Deputy District Attorney Pam Bozanich, who is assigned to the murders of Jose and Kitty Menendez,” the report adds. “She has to fight the machismo politics of the DA’s office to keep control of the case. An alum of the ‘Twilight’ franchise, Reaser’s TV credits include ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘True Detective’ and ‘The Ex List.'”

Cedar played Leon on the HBO Western series “Deadwood.”

The Menendez brothers series also features Edie Falco as Leslie Abramson and Anthony Edwards as Judge Stanley Weisberg.

Jun 23, 2017
3:31 pm

Petition Filed for Release of ‘Making a Murderer’ Inmate (AP)

“Attorneys for a Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix series ‘Making a Murderer’ petitioned for his immediate release Friday after a federal appeals court ruled that his confession was coerced,” the AP reports.

“Lawyers for Brendan Dassey filed papers Friday with the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals asking that he be released on his own recognizance, saying Thursday’s decision by a three-judge appeals panel left no reason for further delays,” the story adds. “The state is unlikely to prevail in any further appeals or if it retries the case without his confession, they wrote, but said those appeals could prolong Dassey’s time in prison ‘by months, if not years.'”

Prosecutors were given until 5 p.m. Monday to file a response.

Jun 23, 2017
11:59 am

Broadcast Drama Series Getting a ‘De Facto Cancellation’ (Deadline, TVWeek)

A drama series that hasn’t exactly been hitting it out of the park in the ratings will be getting what Deadline.com calls a “de facto cancellation.” The series, Shondaland’s “Still Star-Crossed,” is being bumped by ABC from its Monday slot starting next week, after just three airings.

The “Romeo & Juliet” sequel is being moved to Saturday, where it will return July 8 with its fourth episode.

“The scheduling downgrade is a clear sign that the medieval drama won’t go beyond its first season,” Deadline reports. “‘Still Star-Crossed’ is expected to get a de facto cancellation next week when the options on the cast expire.”

The most recent episode reportedly delivered 1.6 million total viewers and a 0.3 average rating in the key 18-49 demo in live+same day.

ABC announced today that it will fill the vacated Monday, June 26, slot with “Celebrity Family Feud” and will run “Battle of the Network Stars” on Monday, July 3.

Jun 23, 2017
11:51 am

Crazy Road Rage Video From Southern California Is Trending Viral (YouTube)

A road rage video that was just posted on YouTube, showing an incident in California in which a motorist and a biker clash on the freeway, has been getting a lot of attention. Here’s the clip …

Jun 23, 2017
11:43 am

Johnny Depp in White House Crosshairs Over Assassination Quip (CNN, NME, TVWeek)

Johnny Depp is not on the best of terms with the White House after he made a comment mentioning the possibility of assassinating the president.

CNN reports that Depp was speaking to a crowd Thursday at the Glastonbury Festival in the U.K. when he said, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?”

Depp apparently realized the remark would get attention, preceding it with the comment: “This is going to be in the press, and it will be horrible. … But I like that you’re all a part of it.”

The White House issued an official response today, with a statement that says: “President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and it’s sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. I hope that some of Mr. Depp’s colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would if his comments were directed to a Democrat elected official.”

A Secret Service official told CNN the service was aware of Depp’s comments, but added: “For security reasons, we cannot discuss specifically nor in general terms the means and methods of how we perform our protective responsibilities.”

Depp apologized for the joke today, saying in a statement: “I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump. It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”

Here’s a portion of Depp’s original comments, posted by NME …

Jun 23, 2017
10:59 am

He Was the Dean of New York TV Reporters: 11-Time Emmy Winner Dies After More Than 60 Years on the Job (NY Times, MSNBC)

An Emmy-winning TV newsman who worked the New York beat for more than six decades, Gabe Pressman died this morning, The New York Times reports.

Pressman, the senior correspondent for WNBC-TV, is described in the story as “the indefatigable dean of New York’s television reporters, who chased breaking news, interviewed countless celebrities and covered the hoopla of politics, protests and parades for more than six decades.” Pressman was 93.

“A matinee-idol anchorman he was not,” The Times notes. “But to generations of mayors, governors and ordinary New Yorkers, he was Gabe: the short, rumpled, pushy guy from Channel 4 who seemed always on the scene, elbowing his way to the front and jabbing his microphone in the face of a witness or a big shot.”

Pressman began his television career in 1956 at WRCA, a forerunner of WNBC.

“Except for a stretch from 1972 to 1980 at its Channel 5 rival, known then as WNEW, he spent the rest of his working life with NBC’s New York flagship station,” The Times reports. “He was still working right up to his death: Earlier this year he covered the St. Patrick’s Day parade, as he had many times before.”

Pressman received many honors for his work, including 11 Emmys, a Peabody and a George Polk Award.

Here’s a report on Pressman’s death posted by MSNBC …

Jun 23, 2017
9:57 am

Bill Cosby’s Latest Plans Spark Outrage (TheWrap, CBS)

In the wake of the mistrial in his criminal sexual assault case in Pennsylvania, Bill Cosby is the focus of renewed outrage for plans to conduct a series of “town halls” on sexual assault.

TheWrap reports that Cosby’s plans, announced by a spokesperson for Cosby, have drawn condemnation from victim advocacy groups along with sparking anger among social media users.

Much of the criticism appears to be focused on the apparent plan to help athletes and other young people avoid being accused of sexual assault, rather than preventing assault itself.

In a statement, Jodi Omear, a spokesperson for the anti-sexual violence organization RAINN, said: “It would be more useful if Mr. Cosby would spend time talking with people about how not to commit sexual assault in the first place.”

Nita Chaudry, co-founder of the women’s advocacy group UltraViolet, spoke out even more strongly, saying in a statement: “Let’s call this tour what it really is: Bill Cosby’s ‘how to get away with rape and sexual assault’ tour. The fact that Cosby, a man who has admitted to drugging women with Quaaludes, would have the audacity to travel the country teaching men how to avoid rape accusations is a disgusting display of rape culture in action.”

Cosby’s plans came up on the CBS daytime show “The Talk,” where Aisha Tyler in particular expressed outrage. You can see her comments below …

Jun 23, 2017
9:21 am

Netflix Introduces ‘The Incredible Jessica James’ (TVWeek, Netflix)

Netflix wants its viewers to get familiar with Jessica James — who’s “pretty, smart, and she’s a Coco queen,” according to the streamer. The character, played by Jessica Williams of “The Daily Show,” is at the center of “The Incredible Jessica James,” a new original Netflix movie that premieres on the service July 28.

Netflix describes James as “a young, aspiring playwright in New York City who is struggling to get over a recent breakup. She is forced to go on a date with the recently divorced Boone, played by Chris O’Dowd (‘Bridesmaids’) and the unlikely duo discover how to make it through the tough times in a social media-obsessed post-relationship universe.”

Here’s a quick look, posted today by Netflix …

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