Aug 28, 2014
5:45 am

Disney the Latest Company Interested in Drones (NY Post)

“Welcome to Disney’s wonderful world of drones,” reports the New York Post.

The story reports: “Disney Enterprises, the merchandising arm for the entertainment conglomerate that owns the ABC Network, has filed three patents for drone-powered entertainment strategies, including using unmanned flying vehicles to move giant puppets.”

The article adds: “Disney’s plans are purely theatrical. All three patents, which were published last week with the US Patents and Trademark Office, are for a new type of ‘aerial display’ or air show.

“One patent, for example, would shoot colored light streams from drones flying in the sky. Another patent would use the drones to fly ‘flexible projection screens’ in the air that would reflect light being projected onto them. A third patent would use the drones to move large puppets supported by ‘tether lines.’ ”

The story also notes: “Last year, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos made headlines when he said he wants to use drones to deliver packages.”

For more information about this article, please click on the link above and read the Post’s original story.

nbc news drone

Aug 28, 2014
5:42 am

Whaaat? Hello Kitty Is Not a Cat. Our Mind Blown, Must-Read, Non-TV Story of the Day (LA Times)

“Hello Kitty, the adorable cultural force that began life as a character on a coin purse in Japan [in] 1974,” is NOT a cat, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The article is about a Hello Kitty art exhibit that’s been assembled by “Christine R. Yano, [who] is an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii (and currently a visiting professor at Harvard) who has spent years studying the phenomenon that is Hello Kitty,” says the Times. Yano has talked extensively with Sanrio, who created Hello Kitty.

“When Yano was preparing her written texts for the exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum, she says she described Hello Kitty as a cat. ‘I was corrected — very firmly,’ she says. ‘That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.’ ”

The story adds: “Hello Kitty is British. Kitty is actually named Kitty White and she has a full back story. She is a Scorpio. She loves apple pie. And she is the daughter of George and Mary White.”

The article adds this quote from Yano: “She has a twin sister. She’s a perpetual third-grader. She lives outside of London. I could go on. A lot of people don’t know the story and a lot don’t care. But it’s interesting because Hello Kitty emerged in the 1970s, when the Japanese and Japanese women were into Britain. They loved the idea of Britain. It represented the quintessential idealized childhood, almost like a white picket fence. So the biography was created exactly for the tastes of that time.”

We here at TVWeek are speechless. Talk about brand confusion. What are we going to learn next, that SpongeBob is not really a sponge?

Hello Kitty

Aug 27, 2014
3:37 pm

Veteran TV News Anchor to Take Leave After Cancer Diagnosis (NY Daily News)

A TV news anchor announced to viewers that she will take a leave of absence after being diagnosed with colon cancer. The New York Daily News reports that Roma Torre, 56, an anchor and theater critic for NY1, “broke the shocking news to her viewers Tuesday morning.”

In a statement, Torre told the publication: “Anyone who knows me is well aware I don’t seek public attention. And so when I received a diagnosis of cancer, my inclination was to keep it private. But if there’s any good to come out of all this, it’s the hope that sharing my story can spare others the pain of my experience.”

Her family has no history of the disease, and Torre said she leads a healthy lifestyle and had no symptoms. Because of that, she said, she thought “I could safely assume I would remain healthy and cancer free. Obviously I was wrong.”

Torre, who has been with NY1 since 1992, earned an Emmy for reporting on the Avianca plane crash disaster in 1991, and has won more than 25 broadcasting awards.

“The majority of patients with colorectal cancer have no genetic history and are symptom free,” Torre said. “There really is no way to detect colon cancer in most people without a colonoscopy, which is generally recommended at age 50. I foolishly waited too long. So, I urge anyone who’s procrastinating, as I did, to get screened. Nothing would make me happier than to hear someone say ‘After hearing your story, I finally made an appointment to get checked.’”

She is taking a leave to undergo surgery and treatment, which will be undertaken at Memorial Sloan Kettering, the story adds.

roma torre

Roma Torre

Aug 27, 2014
3:35 pm

Reboot of Hit Sitcom ‘Full House’ in the Works. Many of the Original Cast Involved (TVGuide)

Warner Bros. TV is looking into doing a new version of ABC’s family comedy “Full House,” reports TVGuide.

The original show airs in repeats on Nick at Nite and continues to be a hit with fans. Many of the original cast members appear to be connected to the reboot, the story notes.

“Leading the charge is John Stamos (Uncle Jesse) — who has an ownership stake in the show, which gives him good reason to champion the new series,” the story reports. “Original executive producer Bob Boyett and creator Jeff Franklin (who’s writing the new version) are actively involved. Candace Cameron Bure (D.J.), Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie) and Andrea Barber (Kimmy) are on board, while Bob Saget (Danny) and Dave Coulier (Joey) are also involved in some way.”

Some of the cast members have hinted they’d like the show to return, and many remain close. Stamos, Coulier and Saget recently appeared together in a yogurt commercial, the piece points out.

The report adds: “Another comedy from ABC’s family-friendly ‘TGIF’ lineup, ‘Boy Meets World,’ was recently revived on Disney Channel as ‘Girl Meets World.’ Such a revival would make perfect sense given the timeless popularity of ‘Full House.’”

Repeats of the comedy average 1.5 million viewers in prime time, an increase of 7 percent from last year, the story notes, citing Nick at Nite.

“The show even has a healthy teen fan base, a demo that wasn’t even born when the show ended,” TVGuide adds.

The original show ran for eight seasons on ABC, from 1987-1995, airing 192 episodes.

john stamos-full house mullet

John Stamos with his “Full House” mullet

Aug 27, 2014
3:33 pm

Report: NBC News Boss Apologizes After Ruffling Feathers Among Her Execs (NY Post, NY Times)

NBC News President Deborah Turness ruffled feathers and reportedly “had to apologize after infuriating top execs and talent” when she told The New York Times the news unit “had gone to sleep,” reports the New York Post.

Turness made the comments in a Sunday article, where she told The Times’ Bill Carter, “People in the organization from top to bottom recognized that NBC News hadn’t kept up with the times in all sorts of ways, for maybe 15 years.”

She added, “I think the organization had gone to sleep.”

The Post reports that Tom Brokaw, the anchor and managing editor of NBC’s “Nightly News” from 1982 until 2004, as well as Turness’ predecessor Steve Capus and CNN chief Jeff Zucker, a former top NBC executive, were upset about the comment.

Turness was reportedly “forced to send out apologetic e-mails to staff addressing her comment,” the Post notes.

Representatives for NBC, Capus, and Zucker didn’t respond to requests for comment, the publication adds.

Deborah Turness

Aug 27, 2014
3:31 pm
Aug 27, 2014
3:29 pm

CBS Is Sued Over Farting Hippo (THR, TheWrap)

CBS Broadcasting has been hit with a lawsuit over a farting hippo. The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq., reports that the company was sued for alleged copyright infringement for selling a farting hippo puppet that has been featured on the network’s “NCIS.”

The plaintiff, Folkmanis Inc., says it created a version of the Hippo in 2002, with CBS using it as a prop the following year. The complaint says, “It was often accompanied by a dubbed sound effect of a fart attributable to the Hippo 1 puppet, and the show puppet was referred to and came to be known as ‘Bert the Farting Hippo.’”

Folkmanis said it created a second version of its Hippo in 2009, which it calls Hippo 2, while CBS decided to start selling farting puppets to “NCIS” fans. The network reportedly contracted with Folkmanis to make a new version, which included a mechanism inside that makes a farting sound.

According to a report on TheWrap: “For a few years, everyone was happy. Folkmanis’ business was booming; they produced 30,000 farting hippos to CBS to sell in its online store and at other retailers, which meant a nice profit for the network and delighted, fart-loving fans. In 2011, the network even commissioned a smaller farting hippo keychain, so people could take Bert and his gas wherever they went.

“Then, everything (allegedly) fell apart.”

The lawsuit alleges that CBS then hired two companies to contract a Chinese manufacturer to make the toys, ending its deal with Folkmanis.

“This did not please Folkmanis, which is suing the defendants for copyright infringement,” TheWrap reports. “They are looking for $733,000, the alleged profit made on the faux-Farting Hippos, as well as piece of the profits made as an indirect result of the infringement.”

CBS reportedly responded to the suit with a statement that said, “We believe this to be a flatulent abuse of the legal system, and we intend to clear the air on this matter immediately.”

bert the farting hippo-ncis

Aug 27, 2014
3:27 pm

ABC News Shuffles Its Lineup (TVNewser)

ABC News is implementing a number of lineup changes among key production executives. TVNewser reports that “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski is receiving a promotion to senior vice president of programs, newsgathering and special events.

With Cibrowski’s promotion, “World News” executive producer Michael Corn will take his place on “Good Morning America,” the publication notes. At “World News,” “Nightline” executive producer Almin Karamehmedovic will take Corn’s place, the story adds.

“Karamehmedocvic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has deep roots in international reporting for ABC,” the publication reports. “In 2001 he was one of the first journalists to gain access to Tora Bora, Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden was holed up, and in 2003 was a U.S. Army embed during the invasion of Iraq. A replacement at ‘Nightline’ will come later, we hear.”

Almin Karamehmedovic

Almin Karamehmedovic

Aug 27, 2014
3:25 pm

‘Sopranos’ Creator Reveals Whether Tony Soprano Was Killed (Vox)

More than seven years after the ending to HBO’s acclaimed mob series “The Sopranos” left the show’s fans unclear on exactly what had happened, the show’s creator, David Chase, has finally provided an answer to the No. 1 question: whether mob boss Tony Soprano is dead.

Vox reporter Martha P. Nochimson asked Chase point-blank whether Tony, played by the late James Gandolfini, is dead. Said Chase: “No, he isn’t.”

Chase did not elaborate. But Nochimson discusses the implications of the show’s ambiguous ending, and Chase’s belated revelation, in her article, which you can read by clicking on the link above.

james gandolfini as tony soprano

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano

Aug 27, 2014
3:23 pm

Host of Emmy-Winning News Program Dead at 87 (NY Times)

A TV news pioneer and filmmaker who hosted an Emmy Award-winning program has died. The New York Times reports that William Greaves, who was the host of “Black Journal,” died Monday at his Manhattan home. He was 87.

“Black Journal,” which debuted in 1968 after the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders recommended more coverage of black issues, was the only national telecast focused on black affairs in that decade, The Times reports. Greaves was its co-host and later its executive producer.

In 1969, The Times television critic Jack Gould wrote that the program “has earned its rightful niche as a continuing and absorbing feature of television’s output.” He added, “Mr. Greaves is simply covering a story that should be covered and covering it with distinction.”

The show won an Emmy in the “magazine-type programming” category in 1970.

Greaves, who was also a documentarian, left that year to pursue other projects. The show was later renamed “Tony Brown’s Journal,” after the host who replaced him.

One of Greaves’ documentaries is “The Fighters,” about the 1971 Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight. He also created a 1968 film called “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One,” which had a complicated structure and took nearly four decades to get released. It was “warmly praised as ahead of its time” when it was released in 2005, the story adds.

william greaves

William Greaves

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