Apr 20, 2018
4:59 pm

Potential Roadblock Looms for Media Consolidation (Bloomberg)

“Television broadcast stocks are lower today on concern that a potential FCC loss in an ownership-limit case could tie up future deals or stop them in their tracks,” Bloomberg reports. “D.C. Circuit appeals court judges grilled the FCC today about an ownership rule change that’s needed for Sinclair to acquire Tribune Media. The national holdings limit rests at 39%, but that rule — the UHF discount — lets some companies count only part of their audience, skirting the threshold.”

Bloomberg Intelligence litigation analyst Matthew Schettenhelm is quoted in the story saying: “I’ve been to a lot of FCC arguments and this one was among the worst I’ve seen for the agency. It’s not a sure thing but I would be very surprised if the FCC prevails.”

Schettenhelm predicted that judges would rule against the UHF discount, which Bloomberg notes would “not only complicate the proposed Sinclair-Tribune deal, but also squeeze future M&A by leaving less room for broadcasters to buy more stations.”

Added Schettenhelm: “Without the discount there is a lot less room for acquisitions to occur because you have a bunch of companies that are pretty close to that 39% level. As long as that cap remains in place, the companies don’t have a lot of room to grow.”

The court is expected to decide before the end of September whether the agency properly enforced the UHF discount.

Apr 20, 2018
2:39 pm

YouTube Star Faces Two Years in Prison for Cruel Prank
(NY Post, SF Gate, El Pais)

A YouTube celebrity could get up to two years in prison for a prank that went wrong. The prank involved an Oreo cookie, toothpaste and a homeless man, The New York Post reports.

Kanghua Ren, 20, a Chinese man who goes by ReSet on his YouTube channel, pulled the prank in Barcelona, where he lives, SF Gate reported.

“Kanghua filmed himself squeezing toothpaste onto the cookies and putting them into their original packaging to make them appear like the original snack. He then set off to the streets where he handed out the joke cookies to bystanders as a way to entertain his more than one million followers on YouTube,” The Post reports.

He reportedly gave a cookie, along with $25, to a homeless man who was identified as Gheorge L., 52. After the man ate the cookie he began vomiting.

The man told El Pais he had “never been treated so poorly while living on the street.” The Post notes that the man “said he fled his homeland, Romania, to escape the dictatorship and was hospitalized in a mental health clinic.”

The Post reports that “Kanghua faces up to two years in prison and a $37,133 fine if he is convicted of ‘a crime against moral integrity,’ El Pais reported.”

Kanghua, who reportedly once filled Oreo cookies with cat feces and handed them out to children and elderly people, is on bail awaiting sentencing, according to media reports.

“The video has since been deleted, and Kanghua attempted to make amends with Gheorge L. while offering the man $371 to not say anything to authorities,” The Post adds. “Kanghua, with a camera, tried to spend a night with the homeless man, but a witness called authorities to report the incident.”

Apr 20, 2018
2:31 pm

Actress Pleads Not Guilty in Sex Slave Case (AP)

An actress who’s best known for her role on a TV drama series entered a not guilty plea today in a case in which she’s charged with helping to recruit women into a cult-like organization.

“Allison Mack was charged Friday [with] sex trafficking after federal prosecutors said she worked as a slave ‘master’ recruiting women to a group led by a man who sold himself as a self-improvement guru to the stars,” the AP reports. “Mack entered her plea in federal court in Brooklyn. The judge refused a request by her lawyers to release her without bail.”

Mack is best known for her role as Chloe, one of Clark Kent’s best friends, on the WB and CW series “Smallville,” which wrapped in 2011. Mack’s many other TV roles have also included playing Amanda on FX’s “Wilfred” and Kate Jacobs, a recurring role on Fox’s “Opposite Sex.”

“Prosecutors say she helped recruit sex slaves for leader Keith Raniere and his group called NXIVM,” the AP notes.

Raniere is reportedly being held on trafficking charges.

Apr 20, 2018
2:27 pm

Is a ’30 Rock’ Reboot Happening? Here’s What Tina Fey Is Saying (TVWeek, NBC)

Tina Fey provided an update on the “30 Rock” reboot situation, responding to rumors that she may have inadvertently fueled herself that a reboot is in the works. Addressing the subject during an appearance on “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon,” Fey either downplayed the prospects for a reboot or added more fuel to the fire, depending on how one interprets her comments.

Here’s the clip …

Apr 20, 2018
1:51 pm

Popular DJ and Musician Avicii Found Dead at 28 (TVWeek, Rolling Stone, YouTube)

Well-known musician, DJ and record producer Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead today in Muscat, Oman, according to media reports. He was 28.

The death of the Swedish-born Bergling was confirmed by his publicist, Ebba Lindqvist. No cause of death was given.

A statement from Bergling’s rep says: “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii. He was found dead in Muscat, Oman this Friday afternoon local time, April 20th. The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given.”

Nominated for two Grammys, Avicii was one of the most popular acts in electronic dance music (EDM).

“Bergling found crossover success with his 2011 hit ‘Levels,’ an Etta James-sampling smash that went platinum in the United States and topped the singles charts in dozens of countries,” Rolling Stone reports. “‘Wake Me Up’ followed two years later, with the Aloe Blacc-featuring single peaking at Number Four on the Hot 100.”

The report adds: “Bergling — who chose the moniker Avicii because the word stood for the lowest level of Buddhist hell — started his career uploading his music before ‘Levels’ catapulted the then-20-year-old DJ to fame overnight. Within a year, Bergling had landed on Forbes’ Highest Paid DJs of 2012 list; by 2014, Avicii was Number Three on the list thanks to $28 million in earnings that year, the result of a tortuous touring itinerary.”

Here’s the video for “Wake Me Up” …

Apr 20, 2018
1:49 pm

TV Series Unveils America’s 100 Favorite Novels — See the Full List (TVWeek)

A list of America’s 100 favorite novels has been released by the new series “The Great American Read,” a multiplatform PBS series.

The eight-part series will premiere May 22 on PBS stations with a two-hour event. The nationwide summer reading initiative will culminate in a vote for “America’s Best-Loved Novel.”

Featured in the series, which is hosted by Meredith Vieira, will be notable personalities including Barbara Pierce Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Gillian Flynn, Diana Gabaldon, Jenna Bush Hager, Chris Kluwe, Diane Lane, George Lopez, Armistead Maupin, Seth Meyers, Cynthia Nixon, James Patterson, Jason Reynolds, Ming-Na Wen, Wil Wheaton and Venus Williams.

Please click here to see the list of 100 novels, along with other details about the series.

Apr 20, 2018
12:07 pm

Michael C. Hall Returns to Television
(TVWeek, Netflix)

Actor Michael C. Hall, who became a fixture on television and at awards ceremonies through his performances in “Dexter” and “Six Feet Under,” is returning to television with a new series.

Netflix released a trailer today for “Safe,” Hall’s new crime thriller. You can watch the clip below.

“After his teenage daughter goes missing, widowed surgeon Tom Delaney (Michael C. Hall) begins unearthing dark secrets about the people closest to him,” Netflix says of the show, which premieres May 10.

Hall is a seven-time Emmy nominee, including five nods for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for “Dexter” along with a lead actor nod for “Six Feet Under.” He won a Golden Globe for “Dexter,” one of five Globe nominations for the role.

Here’s the trailer …

Apr 20, 2018
11:59 am

Here Comes ‘Too Stupid to Die’ (TVWeek)

A new TV series premiering in June has the quirky title “Too Stupid to Die.” The series is a new stunt and prank show coming to MTV, which calls the project, produced by MTV and Gunpowder & Sky, a “next-generation stunt series.”

The show, which is slated for eight half-hour episodes, was developed in conjunction with “YouTube banned, online sensation and daredevil Zach Holmes,” MTV notes.

“Packed with bizarre pranks, hilarious comedy and outrageous stunts, ‘Too Stupid to Die’ is the story of a backyard stunt family making a name for themselves with nothing but blood, sweat and fearlessness,” MTV adds.

“’Too Stupid to Die’ is the right kind of show and characters who fit our coming of age strategy that’s driving MTV’s growth,” said Chris McCarthy, President of MTV. “We were excited to develop this project with Van and thrilled to work together again.”

“We are always looking to uncover talent in front of and behind the camera from compelling subcultures,” said Van Toffler, CEO of Gunpowder & Sky. “‘Too Stupid To Die’ represents a nonconformist group of friends existing in the heart of our country so I’m excited to bring it to MTV, the original home of shining a light on emerging subcultures”.

“Too Stupid To Die” is executive produced by Gunpowder & Sky’s Van Toffler, Floris Bauer, Ross Breitenbach, David Harris and Zach Holmes. Nina L. Diaz, Tiffany Lea Williams and Nadim Amiry are executive producers for MTV.

Cast of “Too Stupid to Die” (MTV)

Apr 20, 2018
11:44 am

Mark Your Calendar: Fox Sports Releases Its Full Season Schedule of NFL Games (TVWeek)

Fox has released its schedule of NFL games for the full 2018 season, including the NFC playoffs.

The slate includes 35 NFC divisional matchups — 10 from the NFC South, nine each from the NFC North and NFC West, and seven from the NFC East.

This marks Fox Sports’ 25th season of NFL coverage. The schedule gets under way Sept. 9 with “America’s Game of the Week,” which Fox touts as “television’s No. 1 show.”

Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light kicks off Sept. 27.

Please click here to see the full lineup of games.

Apr 20, 2018
11:29 am

NBC Announces Full ‘Sunday Night Football’ Schedule (TVWeek)

A classic quarterback showdown and earlier start times are among the highlights contained in NBC’s announcement of its NFL schedule for the 2018 season.

“Sunday Night Football” will have a new, earlier kickoff time of 8:20 p.m. ET — 10 minutes earlier than last year.

In the “memorable meetings” dept., legendary quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady will face each other for only the second time in their careers, on Nov. 4.

The network’s marquee NFC East matchups on “Sunday Night Football” include Giants-Cowboys (Sept. 16) and Cowboys-Eagles (Nov. 11).

NBC is highlighting the following “Memorable Meetings”: Aaron Rodgers Faces Tom Brady for Only Second Time (Nov. 4); Mike Tomlin & Jon Gruden Meet For First Time as Head Coaches (Dec. 9); Bill Belichick & Patriots Visit Former Def. Coordinator Matt Patricia & Lions (Sept. 23); Dak vs. Deshaun in QB Battle for Texas (Oct. 7); & Richard Sherman’s Return to Seattle as a 49er (Dec. 2).

The network is also featuring rematches of three Divisional Playoff Games: Falcons at Eagles (Sept. 6); The “Minnesota Miracle” Saints at Vikings (Oct. 28); and Steelers at Jaguars (Nov. 18).

NBC’s 23-game slate features 19 prime-time regular season games, two postseason games and two preseason games.

Please click here for the full schedule, additional highlights and other details.

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