Jul 28, 2016
3:18 pm

‘Divided States of America’ to Examine Polarized Nation (TVWeek)

A four-hour miniseries that will air over two nights, “Divided States of America,” will focus on the polarized nation that the next president will inherit. The “Frontline” production bows Jan. 17-18, 2017, on PBS, days before the 45th president will be sworn in.

The show offers “an in-depth view of the partisanship that gridlocked Washington and charged the 2016 presidential campaign, the rise of populist anger on both sides of the aisle and the racial tensions that have erupted throughout the country,” PBS says in its announcement.

“Drawing on extensive new interviews with White House and congressional insiders from both parties, as well as ‘Frontline’s’ vast body of reporting on the Obama era, ‘Divided States’ digs into the causes of America’s intense polarization and questions how the next president and Congress can govern in an era of complex challenges,” PBS announced. “This television event, led by veteran ‘Frontline’ filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team, tells a revealing story that’s not just about Barack Obama’s presidency, but about America itself.”

Said Kirk: “When America elected its first black president eight years ago, many thought we were entering a new and hopeful era. But now, from race to guns to the economy, we’re living in a deeply polarized moment — in American politics and American life. This film explores why we’ve reached this point, how Washington has reacted to the upheaval that is fast defining our times and what it means as we look to the tenure of the next president.”

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Jul 28, 2016
12:57 pm

Stephen Colbert and CBS Step Into Legal Hassle Over Recent ‘Late Show’ Broadcast (AP, CBS)

CBS has received a complaint about “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” from lawyers representing Colbert’s old Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report.” The AP reports that the complaint came in response to Colbert’s revival of the character “Stephen Colbert,” a version of himself that he showcased for years on the old show.

Colbert announced on Wednesday’s “Late Show” that the lawyers indicated the character “Stephen Colbert” is their intellectual property. He quipped that the claim is “surprising, cuz I never considered that guy much of an intellectual.”

To booing from the audience, Colbert said it has been determined that the character must be retired.

“I feel the same way, but what can I do?” Colbert told audience members. “The lawyers have spoken. I cannot reasonably argue I own my face or name. And as much as I’d like to have that guy on again, I can’t.”

However, Colbert may have found a workaround.

“He then introduced ‘Stephen Colbert’s identical twin cousin,’ an interview with himself displaying the same cocked eyebrow expression his old character had,” the AP reports. “Then the real Colbert did one of the old show’s most popular recurring segments, retitling ‘The Word’ to ‘The Werd.'”

Reps for CBS and Comedy Central weren’t commenting, but the report notes that up until the CBS-Viacom split in 2005 the two networks were corporate cousins.

Here’s Colbert’s segment on the legal hassle from Wednesday’s show …

Jul 28, 2016
12:31 pm

Former Fox News Reporter Jailed on Rape Charges (WSLS, AOL)

A former Fox News correspondent was arrested this week on charges of rape and forcible sodomy, according to a report by WSLS-TV in Roanoke, Va. Orlando Salinas was being held without bond Wednesday on a direct indictment from a grand jury in Montgomery County.

The charges against Salinas stem from an incident Jan. 11 involving a woman other than his wife. Additional details were not provided, but Salinas had reportedly been under investigation for months.

Salinas reportedly worked at Fox News before leaving in 2012 to take a job with CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV in Roanoke. AOL News reports that he was “released by the station due to insubordination in April of 2015.”

“At the time of his release he claimed he and management had ‘a difference of opinion as far as what news should be.’ He’s since walked away from the news business and had been working as a real estate agent in Blacksburg,” the AOL report adds.

WSLS cites court documents indicating that Salinas has a prior criminal history of larceny.

A trial date for Salinas was set for Oct. 19.

Jul 28, 2016
12:09 pm

Cable Network to Rebrand in a Few Days — What This Means for Fans of ‘MTV Unplugged,’ the Buggles and ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ (TVWeek, MTV)

A new cable channel with one decade squarely lodged in its wheelhouse is set to debut Monday, when Viacom-owned VH1 Classic will relaunch as MTV Classic.

The new channel has a 1990s focus, with a programming lineup weighted heavily toward MTV favorites from the period along with the early 2000s. The new network promises a heavy rotation of period staples such as “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “Daria,” “Pimp My Ride,” “Punk’d,” “Jackass,” “Storytellers” and “MTV Unplugged.”

The relaunch is timed to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the original launch of MTV, and will kick off with “MTV Hour One,” consisting of the first hour of programming to air on MTV back in 1981.

MTV Classic is also expected to feature something that has been pretty rare on MTV in recent years: music videos.

Music television historians, if that’s a thing, will recall that when MTV launched back in 1981, the first thing to air — after the familiar Apollo 11 moon landing montage and crunchy MTV theme riff — was the prophetic Buggles song “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Set your DVRs …

Here’s a little more about it …

Jul 28, 2016
12:01 pm

‘Live With Kelly’ Names Guest Co-Hosts for Week of Aug. 1 — Is the New Permanent Co-Host in the Lineup? (TVWeek)

Fans of ABC’s syndicated morning staple “Live with Kelly” continue to closely follow the weekly lineup of guest hosts to look for clues to who might be named as the show’s permanent replacement for Michael Strahan.

The lineup just released for next week includes two appearances by Anderson Cooper, whose name has been mentioned as a leading contender from the beginning — even though the CNN anchor has denied he’s up for the job.

Also guest hosting with Kelly Ripa two days next week is actor Josh Gad, and pop singer Nick Lachey caps off the week on Friday.

Here’s the lineup for Aug. 1-5:

Monday, August 1 — Journalist ANDERSON COOPER

Tuesday, August 2 — Journalist ANDERSON COOPER

Wednesday, August 3 — Actor JOSH GAD

Thursday, August 4 — Actor JOSH GAD

Friday, August 5 — Singer and TV Personality NICK LACHEY

“Live with Kelly” is distributed in national syndication by Disney|ABC Home Entertainment and TV Distribution. The show is produced by WABC-TV in New York and executive produced by Michael Gelman.

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Jul 28, 2016
11:57 am

Report: Clippers, Who Share Staples Arena With the Lakers, Want to Relocate to a New Venue in L.A. (ESPN)

ESPN is reporting that the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers want to move out of the Staples Center, where they currently share their home court with the L.A. Lakers along with the L.A. Kings of the NHL. The Clippers are reportedly tired of being the “third tenant” of the facility.

“Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has begun to explore potential sites for a new Clippers arena, multiple NBA sources said,” ESPN reports. “The Clippers would neither confirm nor deny they are actively searching for a location, but one NBA source said that an area that piques the franchise’s interest is Los Angeles’ west side.”

The report adds: “The Clippers have been co-tenants of Staples Center, owned and operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), with the Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings since the facility opened in downtown Los Angeles prior to the 1999-2000 NBA season. In January 2013, the Clippers agreed to a 10-year extension of their lease that would keep the team at Staples Center until June 2024. Sources say any move by the Clippers would come after they fulfill the term of the current lease.”

los angeles clippers l.a. clippers

Jul 28, 2016
11:44 am

Cord Cutting on the Rise Again — Could It Be Even Worse Than Last Year’s ‘Epic Meltdown’? (Fierce Cable)

Media stocks, which were hit hard last year by cord cutting, appear to be in for another rough go. Fierce Cable reports that subscriber metrics for the second quarter are “shaping up to look even worse than [the] epic 2015 meltdown that sent media and operators stocks cratering.”

The report, which cites Bernstein Research, notes that five of the top six pay-TV platforms have reported Q2 results.

“So far, with Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Dish Network and AT&T (DirecTV and U-verse) reporting earnings, pay-TV has lost 375,000 subscribers,” Fierce Cable reports. “During the second quarter of 2015, these five leading platforms collectively posted losses of 279,000 customers.”

The second quarter of 2015 wound up being the worst period in history for subscriber metrics, with a total loss of 625,000 customers in the pay-TV sector, the report notes. Q2 is traditionally a challenging one for the sector.

In a note to investors Wednesday, Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger wrote: “Frankly, we are shocked the media stocks haven’t already reacted more negatively.”

Fierce Cable adds, though: “The bright side: Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), which will now encompass metrics for the newly acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, is expected to post strong customer numbers when it reports earnings on August 9.”

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Jul 28, 2016
10:41 am

Netflix Renews Three Series, Picks Up a New Project, Announces Premiere Dates for Nine Shows … Plus Some Casting News — and Plenty of Beatles References; Here’s All the Info … (TVWeek, Netflix)

Netflix is anteing up with new content, unleashing a torrent of programming news covering a wide range of genres, including the news that Jennifer Garner — her voice, at least — will be a part of the animated preschooler series “Llama Llama.”

The Beatles are a big part of the new programming, with the animated series “Beat Bugs,” built around classic Beatles songs, reportedly set to stream Aug. 3, with a second season also in the pipeline. The program includes Beatles covers by Pink, Regina Spektor, Of Monsters and Men, The Shins and Sia, among many others. (You can see some of Eddie Vedder’s “Magical Mystery Tour” below.)

The streamer announced that “Chelsea,” Lady Dynamite” and “Real Rob” will all return for second seasons.

Netflix is also picking up a new untitled Motown Project from writer/director Josh Wakely, who’s also behind “Beat Bugs.”

Premiere dates include:

“Beat Bugs,” Aug. 3; (season two, Nov. 18)

“Easy,” Sept. 22

“Black Mirror,” Oct. 21

“Lovesick,” Nov. 17

“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” Nov. 25

“Captive,” Dec. 9

“One Day at a Time,” Jan. 6, 2017

“The Ranch” (Part 2 of season one), Oct. 7

“Chef’s Table: France” (third season), Sept. 2

Click here for the full rundown in a release from Netflix, including additional casting announcements.

Below, check out Eddie Vedder’s “Magical Mystery Tour” …

Jul 28, 2016
10:19 am

Oprah’s Historic Harpo Studios in Chicago Demolished (TMZ, TVWeek, YouTube)

A Chicago studio facility where some historic television events took place — including Oprah Winfrey’s famous giveaway of hundreds of cars and an infamous leap by Tom Cruise onto Winfrey’s couch — has been demolished.

TMZ.com reports that Chicago’s Harpo Studios was demolished to make way for a new corporate headquarters for McDonald’s. Winfrey spent 25 years shooting her “Oprah” show at the Chicago location. The show aired its finale in 2011.

According to media reports, Winfrey shuttered the Chicago facility a few months ago and has moved her operation to Los Angeles. McDonald’s will build its new headquarters on the Chicago property, with a target opening set for 2018.

Here’s a video about the site that was posted online, with brief footage of the demolition near the end of the clip …

Jul 28, 2016
8:44 am

HBO Comedy Series Renewed (TVWeek, HBO)

HBO announced today that it will bring back a comedy series that recently premiered its second season. The series is “Ballers,” which stars Dwayne Johnson.

The show, created by Stephen Levinson, is two weeks into its 10-episode season two. The first season averaged 9.1 million viewers in gross audience, the pay-cable channel’s biggest half-hour show in six years.

Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming, announced that the show will be back for a third season.

In addition to Johnson, the cast on season two of “Ballers” includes Rob Corddry, John David Washington, Omar Benson Miller, Donovan Carter, Troy Garity, Jazmyn Simon, London Brown, Arielle Kebbel, Dulé Hill, Richard Schiff and Andy Garcia.

The show is executive produced by Levinson, Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Dany Garcia, Peter Berg, Evan Reilly, Rob Weiss, Julian Farino and Denis Biggs.

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