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TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
2:21 pm
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New Late-Night Talk Show in the Works (Variety)

A new entry joins the late-night wars with a talk show to be hosted by Kevin Smith and Greg Grunberg in the works at AMC. Variety reports that the 30-minute show — working title “Geeking Out” — “will tackle all things pop culture through a fanboy lens.”

The plan appears to be to premiere the show with a special episode in late July covering Comic-Con International: San Diego. Eight additional episodes are on tap to run weekly beginning late this summer, Variety notes.

In announcing the project, Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV, said: “Kevin and Greg are both true fans of this content, and share a deep passion for talking about it, and engaging other fans about it. But it is their natural chemistry as hosts that really brings this idea together. As part of our growing non-fiction slate, we wanted to create a broadly entertaining venue for hardcore fans and general viewers where we can break down all things fanboy on a weekly basis; and we wanted to bring those fans great interviews and exclusive looks into the world of fanboy culture.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
1:57 pm
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Tonight’s Comedy Premiere a Big Moment in ‘Scrappy’ Cable Channel’s Rebranding (TVWeek)

All the cool kids are doing it, and now a “scrappy” cable channel better known for its reality lineup is joining the party and launching its first scripted series. truTV’s comedy “Those Who Can’t,” which already has an order for two seasons, launches tonight, finding a place among truTV’s unscripted staples such as “Impractical Jokers” and “Billy on the Street.”

TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin has the backstory on the show, including an interview with truTV President Chris Linn. Click here to get all the details.

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TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
1:31 pm
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TV Execs Are Bullish on One Market Segment (WSJ)

One important bright spot in the media business — which has been battered by ratings woes, cord cutting and hassles over affiliate fees — is the advertising market. And media execs are making sure their investors hear about it.

“Big media companies continued to report pretty decent ad revenue growth in the most recent quarter,” The Wall Street Journal Reports. “Time Warner Inc. on Wednesday said its advertising revenues in the period increased 5%. Domestic ad revenue at 21st Century Fox’s cable networks division grew 3%. At Comcast, NBC broadcast revenue was up 7%. NBCUniversal cable networks’ ad revenue dropped 9.3%, but excluding political revenue it increased 2.8%.”

A number of execs at major media companies appeared to be “reading from the same script” in their recent earnings reports, where enthusiasm over ad sales took the spotlight, WSJ reports.

For example, Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman is quoted in the report saying: “We are seeing pricing in the scatter market over the last upfront in the neighborhood of 20%. So that bodes very well for the upcoming upfront.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
1:09 pm
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Will ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Be the Biggest Movie of All Time? We Now Know the Answer (AP)

The question has been answered as to whether Chapter VII in the “Star Wars” saga will wind up as the No. 1 box office movie of all time worldwide, and the answer, according to the AP, is no.

“‘The Force Awakens’ is still playing in more than 2,000 theaters in North America and remains ranked in the top five at the box office as it enters its ninth week of release. But the lion’s share of its theatrical revenue has been pocketed, and one thing is abundantly clear: It’s not going to touch ‘Avatar,'” the story reports.

Instead, “The Force Awakens,” which currently has made $2.008 billion worldwide, “will slot in at No. 2 all-time on the global box office list, if you don’t account for inflation or rereleases,” the story reports. “That’s slightly ahead of James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ ($1.84 billion before a later 3-D release pushed it to $2.18 billion) but light years behind ‘Avatar’ ($2.79 billion).”

While “Star Wars” is clearly a huge hit, early predictions that it might eventually top $3 billion worldwide turned out to be overly optimistic. “That mark has never seemed more out of reach,” the AP adds.

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TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
9:49 am
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‘Star Wars’ Producers Charged in Harrison Ford Accident (USA Today)

An accident on the set in which actor Harrison Ford was reportedly severely injured has led to charges against producers of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” USA Today reports that the charges against Foodles Production (UK), a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co., stem from an accident in June 2014 at Pinewood Studios near London.

In the incident, Ford reportedly suffered a broken leg when he was hit by a hydraulic door on the set of the Millennium Falcon. He was airlifted to a hospital, where he underwent surgery, according to the report. Production on the film was suspended for two weeks.

The British Health and Safety Executive announced today that it will prosecute the production company on four charges of violating workplace health-and-safety laws, USA Today reports.

star wars the force awakens

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
9:47 am
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Why HDTV Sets Are Disappearing From Stores’ Shelves (HD Guru)

If you want to buy an HDTV set, you’d better hurry to your local retail store. HD Guru reports thatt the sets are rapidly disappearing from shelves as 4K Ultra HDTV sales pick up steam.

“Sales of 4K Ultra HDTVs saw significant acceleration in 2015 behind growing retail shelf placements, which simultaneously are squeezing the share of Full HD 1080p models heading into 2016,” the story reports. The article cites new data from market research group gap intelligence/Quixel Research that indicates 4K Ultra HDTVs reached 40% of U.S. retail placements by the end of 2015.

The report cites comments by Deirdre Kennedy, gap intelligence/Quixel TV market analyst, who notes that Ultra HDTV sets have been increasing thier shelf share since their launch in late 2012. Kennedy told the publication: “Screen sizes for Full 1080p HDTVs are gradually getting smaller and more basic. This change is a direct result of Ultra HDTVs taking over the premium segment of the TV category.”

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TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
9:44 am
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Andy Griffith’s Advice to Cam Newton Goes Viral — Here’s the Clip (YouTube)

A brief video featuring classic TV dad Andy Griffith, as Sheriff Andy Taylor, giving advice to Super Bowl quarterback Cam Newton has been making the rounds online since it was posted on Facebook. The clip — which addresses Newton’s infamous walkoff during the postgame press conference — had reportedly been viewed more than 3 million times by this morning.

Here you go …

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
9:27 am
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Big Media Shares Take a Hit (MediaPost, Multichannel News)

Wednesday was another bad day on Wall Street for major Hollywood firms. MediaPost reports that shares of Disney, Comcast, Time Warner and Viacom continued to struggle in a difficult market.

Viacom shares fell 4.7% Wednesday, with Disney down 3.8%, Comcast off 4.1% and Time Warner down 5%, the story reports. For Viacom, the loss followed a day in which the company’s stock plunged 21%.

Multichannel News notes that Viacom’s big plunge on Tuesday came after the company reported disappointing first-quarter results.

“Viacom’s domestic ad revenue dipped 4% in the fiscal first quarter, the latest in a long line of declines which apparently spooked investors enough to ignore an announced advertising venture with Snapchat and an extension to its carriage negotiations with Dish Network,” Multichannel reports.

Bucking Wednesday’s trend were 21st Century Fox, which ticked up 0.8%, and CBS, which rose 0.5%, MediaPost reports.

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TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
9:21 am
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Cable News Channels Clash Over Trump Election Night Rumor (TVNewser, TVWeek)

Two cable news channels have been waging a war of words over what did or didn’t happen in Donald Trump’s hotel room as election returns were coming in Tuesday night.

TVNewser reports that the dustup between CNN and MSNBC followed a tweet Wednesday by CNN’s Dylan Byers in which he reported that MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough “hung out in Trump’s hotel room last night during primary returns, 2 sources tell me.”

“The CNN report followed an appearance on ‘Morning Joe’ by Trump, where he described the MSNBC hosts as ‘supporters,’ before walking that back,” TVNewser reports, quoting Trump on the show saying: “You guys have been supporters … and I really appreciate it. And not necessarily supporters, but at least believers. You said there’s some potential there.”

Scarborough reacted to the Byers tweet with a series of Twitter posts, writing: “I understand you guys resent that we double your audience every day, but enough of the lying. Did CNN hire you just to lie about Morning Joe? The obsession is unhealthy.”

Byers responded with a challenge, sending out a post saying: “Go on the record and say I’m wrong.”

The clash prompted a statement from MSNBC Wednesday afternoon in which the network said:

“CNN’s media reporter, Dylan Byers, is implying that Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski watched election returns with Donald Trump last night in New Hampshire. That is not true.

“The ‘Morning Joe’ hosts instead did what anchors are supposed to do — they interviewed the candidate’s senior staff to get background information on their strategy in New Hampshire, and on their campaign’s plans moving forward in South Carolina. The staff then invited the hosts to get Mr. Trump’s reaction to the victory. That discussion lasted less than five minutes. Other networks were allowed interviews as well.”

TVBIZWIRE
Feb 11, 2016
9:07 am
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Donald Trump Settles Suit Against TV Network (Variety)

A lawsuit filed by Donald Trump over the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants has been settled. Variety reports that Trump and Univision settled the suit that was filed after a highly public fight over Trump’s remarks about Mexican immigrants and Univision’s decision to drop the pageants, in which Trump was then a part-owner.

“Details of the settlement were not disclosed,” Variety reports. “Univision had just signed a five-year deal with the Miss Universe Organization for U.S. Spanish-language TV rights to the beauty pageants when Trump, now the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, stirred outrage by asserting that many undocumented Mexican immigrants were ‘rapists.’”

After Univision scrapped the telecasts, Trump sued for $500 million. Among the suit’s claims, Variety notes, is one that the decision was influenced by political interference from one of the network’s owners, Democratic fundraiser Haim Saban.

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