Mar 29, 2017
11:54 am

NBC Making a Major Change to How It Covers the Olympics (TVWeek)

When NBC carries the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, for the first time ever at a Winter Olympics the network will broadcast the Games live across all time zones.

“Whether daytime, primetime or late night, all U.S. viewers will be able to watch NBC’s coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang, South Korea, at the same time,” the network said in an announcement Tuesday.

Said Jim Bell, president of NBC Olympics Production & Programming: “Nothing brings America together for two weeks like the Olympics, and that communal experience will now be shared across the country at the same time, both on television and streaming online. That means social media won’t be ahead of the action in any time zone, and as a result, none of our viewers will have to wait for anything. This is exciting news for the audience, the advertisers, and our affiliates alike.”

The announcement also notes: “On most nights of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the primetime broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. MT, and 5 p.m. PT. It will be followed in all time zones by local news, and then a ‘Primetime Plus’ program, consisting of live continuing coverage from PyeongChang. A replay of the primetime program will follow ‘Primetime Plus.'”

As previously announced, Mike Tirico will host NBC’s prime-time program, taking over the spot that was held down by Bob Costas since 1992.

NBC’s prime-time coverage begins Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. The Opening Ceremony takes place on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.

Mar 29, 2017
11:40 am

Report: Turmoil Behind the Scenes at ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ (NY Post, TVWeek)

The natives are restless on ABC’s “GMA,” and at the center of it all is Michael Strahan, according to a report by The New York Post’s Page Six. The report quotes a source saying other “Good Morning America” talking heads are miffed about what they see as preferential treatment for Strahan by the network bosses.

“They roll out the carpet for [Strahan] while seasoned talent is treated like dirt. He’s been given a lot of opportunity, flexibility, when the others who have been working there longer don’t get that kind of treatment,” says a source quoted in the story.

Strahan is still the new kid in the lineup, having moved to “GMA” full time following an exit last spring from “Live with Kelly and Michael” that almost everyone agrees was poorly handled by the network. The longtime NFL pro spent almost four years co-hosting the chat show with Kelly Ripa.

“Strahan signed a special deal that allows him to continue to analyze football at ‘Fox NFL Sunday’ and host ABC’s ‘$100,000 Pyramid.’ But he was forced to drop most of his lucrative endorsement deals when he joined the morning show,” The Post reports.

The source is quoted in the Post story saying “GMA” pop anchor Lara Spencer “feels like her role has been minimized with Strahan. There’s not a lot of love between the two. They know how to put it on for the cameras, but he’s doing a lot of what Lara should be doing [on the show] and she’s not happy. She’s the pop person.”

The report also suggests that George Stephanopoulos appears to be losing interest in his “GMA” job, with the source saying: “He’s bored with the fluff. He goes into work, does the show and leaves by 8:57 a.m. He doesn’t interact. He’s been phoning it in for quite some time.”

The network’s version of the situation is quite different — click on the link above to The Post for quotes from an ABC News exec.

Mar 29, 2017
11:06 am

Comedy Series to Wrap After Six Seasons
(EW, TVWeek, Hulu)

A popular comedy series will be coming to an end after six seasons — and after already having been canceled once before. Entertainment Weekly reports that “The Mindy Project,” which just aired its season five finale Tuesday, will return for a sixth and final season on Hulu in September.

Created by and starring “The Office” breakout Mindy Kaling, “The Mindy Project” bowed in 2012 on Fox, where it was canceled after three seasons. The show was then revived by Hulu, where it did well enough to survive for another three seasons. This week’s season five finale brought the total episode count to 107 so far.

In a statement, Craig Erwich, head of content for Hulu, said: “It has been an honor and a joy to work with Mindy and the entire creative team behind ‘The Mindy Project.’ This series has been part of Hulu since we launched the service and, thanks to Mindy’s incredibly unique voice and vision, has remained one of our most popular and beloved series over the past five years. While we can’t wait to see what Mindy has in store for what will undoubtedly be a fantastic sixth and final season, we know ‘The Mindy Project’ will live on as fans will continue to watch, discover and re-live all of the best moments from the complete series on Hulu.”

Mar 29, 2017
10:41 am

With a Major TV Role Looming, Michelle Pfeiffer Explains Her Disappearance From Hollywood (Interview, TVWeek, HBO)

Actress Michelle Pfeiffer is about to resurface on television, but in case you were wondering where she’s been, she explained her absence from Hollywood in a new feature published by Interview magazine.

The three-time Oscar nominee, known for her knockout performances in high-profile 1980s and 1990s feature films including “Scarface,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” “The Russia House,” “Frankie and Johnny,” “Batman Returns” and “The Age of Innocence,” chalks it up to becoming “unhireable” due to her own pickiness when it came to acting jobs.

“I’ve never lost my love for acting,” Pfeiffer told the publication. “I feel really at home on the movie set. I’m a more balanced person, honestly, when I’m working. But I was pretty careful about where I shot, how long I was away, whether or not it worked out with the kids’ schedule. And I got so picky that I was unhireable. And then … I don’t know, time just went on.”

She added: “I disappeared, yeah.”

Pfeiffer will be back in the spotlight soon, playing Ruth Madoff, the wife of Bernie Madoff, opposite Robert De Niro in HBO’s “The Wizard of Lies.” The Barry Levinson-directed TV movie premieres May 20.

Mar 29, 2017
9:08 am

Dylan Will Stop by to Pick Up His Nobel Prize After All (BBC, TVWeek, YouTube)

The clock is still ticking on that lecture Bob Dylan is required to give to be eligible to receive the prize money that comes with his Nobel Prize for Literature — about $900,000. Dylan has until June 10 to deliver the lecture, according to a report by the BBC.

But at least Dylan has agreed to pick up his award. He will be in Stockholm anyway for a couple of concerts this weekend, and will meet in private with reps from the Swedish Academy to accept the award, according to the report. No media will be allowed in, at Dylan’s request.

Much has been made of the rock icon’s so-called “snub” of the Nobel Prize folks after he opted out of participating in the official ceremony back in December. But Dylan has been gracious about the whole thing, saying it was “truly beyond words” to receive the Nobel Prize, and noting that he had to skip the ceremony due to “pre-existing commitments.”

About that lecture, Dylan is apparently going to send it in by tape but will not deliver it in person — which has also been done in the past. The Nobel group is breaking new ground anyway in awarding the prize to Dylan — it’s the first time the literature prize has been given to a songwriter.

In a blog post, Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, wrote: “The good news is that the Swedish Academy and Bob Dylan have decided to meet this weekend. The Academy will then hand over Dylan’s Nobel diploma and the Nobel medal, and congratulate him on the Nobel Prize in Literature. The setting will be small and intimate, and no media will be present; only Bob Dylan and members of the Academy will attend, all according to Dylan’s wishes.”

Danius noted that members of the Academy will also be attending one of Dylan’s Stockholm concerts.

Mar 29, 2017
7:48 am

‘Parks and Rec’ Stars Reunite for New NBC Series (TVWeek, YouTube)

Two of the stars of NBC’s perennial Emmy nominee “Parks and Recreation” are headed back to the network with a new series. NBC announced a six-episode order for “The Handmade Project,” a competition series from Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.

The show is a celebration of artisanship, with competitors doing their best to make things by hand that will impress Poehler, Offerman and a lineup of expert judges.

Poehler and Offerman starred for seven seasons on “Parks and Rec,” which chalked up 15 Emmy nominations — including five for Poehler for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Leslie Knope — before the show wrapped in 2015. “Saturday Night Live” alumna Poehler was also a producer and a writer on the sitcom, and both Poehler and Offerman directed a few episodes.

Please click here for details about the new show.

Mar 28, 2017
4:27 pm

Mom From ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ Dead at 69 (NY Times, TVWeek, Dallas Morning News, YouTube)

Darlene Cates, who had never acted professionally before being cast as the mother of Johnny Depp’s title character in the acclaimed 1993 film “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” has died. The New York Times reports that Cates died in her sleep Sunday at her home in Forney, Texas. She was 69.

Cates played Bonnie Grape, the morbidly obese, housebound matriarch of a troubled Iowa family. Depp played her son Gilbert, with Leonardo DiCaprio as his younger brother Arnie.

“The film’s screenwriter, Peter Hedges, had spotted her on an episode of the talk show ‘Sally Jessy Raphael’ on which she discussed her struggles with her weight. She weighed more than 500 pounds at the time,” The Times reports.

Reviewing the film for The New York Times, Janet Maslin called Cates’ performance “believable and emphatic,” and wrote, “The impossible role of Momma is ideally played by Ms. Cates.”

Cates later made appearances on a few TV series, including “Picket Fences” and “Touched by an Angel,” and played Athena the Fat Lady in the TV movie “Wolf Girl.”

The Dallas Morning News reported in 2012 that Cates had lost more than 240 pounds — down from her top weight of 575 pounds to 331. At the time she was said to be recovering from a series of health scares and had undergone four surgeries.

Mar 28, 2017
4:11 pm

Hulu Announces Summer Programming Slate (TVWeek, Hulu)

Hulu announced a lineup of summer programming that includes several new programs. Joining new seasons of “Casual” and “Difficult People” will be the new shows “Batman & Bill” and “Becoming Bond” along with “Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine.”

Click here for details on all the programming.

Mar 28, 2017
3:57 pm

Bill O’Reilly Apologizes for ‘Dumb’ Comment About Rep. Maxine Waters
(The Hill, TVWeek, YouTube, Fox & Friends)

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly offered an apology to Rep. Maxine Waters after making a comment that O’Reilly called “dumb.” The Hill reports that O’Reilly issued a statement apologizing after calling the veteran congresswoman’s hair “the James Brown wig.”

“As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs. I said that again today on ‘Fox and Friends,’ calling her ‘old school,'” O’Reilly said in his statement. “Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair, which was dumb. I apologize.”

The apology followed an appearance by O’Reilly today on “Fox & Friends” in which he was shown video of Waters speaking on the House floor and then was asked to comment.

O’Reilly appears in a split screen as Waters is seen delivering a speech criticizing Donald Trump. Immediately after the clip runs, O’Reilly says: “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig. If we have a picture of James … it’s the same wig.”

Earlier in his “Fox & Friends” appearance, O’Reilly said of Waters: “I love her. Maxine Waters should have her own sitcom. People get angry with Maxine Waters. I want more of it.”

“Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt made an attempt to call out O’Reilly’s critique of Waters, saying: “You can’t go after a woman’s looks. I think she’s very attractive.”

O’Reilly responded: “I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive.”

He then doubled down on his original comment, saying: “I love James Brown, but it’s the same hair James Brown — all right, the ‘Godfather of Soul’ — had.”

Mar 28, 2017
3:44 pm

Daytime Talk Show Renewed (Variety)

A syndicated daytime talk strip has been renewed after getting off to a solid start this season. Variety reports that NBCUniversal Domestic Television and the Fox Television Stations renewed “Harry,” hosted by Harry Connick Jr., for a second season this fall.

In a statement, Connick said: “I love my show! To continue sharing an hour every day with my audience is a great honor and thrill — can’t wait for season 2.”

Variety adds: “’Harry’s’ viewership since its September premiere has been respectable, if not spectacular, averaging about 1.3 million viewers for the season to date in morning and early afternoon time slots. The show last week grabbed five Daytime Emmy Award nominations, including a bid for entertainment talk show host for Connick.”

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