Nov 20, 2014
12:44 pm

Shakeup at CBS: Change of Leadership for News Division (TheWrap)

The chairman of CBS News has stepped down from his post, and another executive is set to take the reins of the organization. reports that Jeff Fager circulated a memo announcing that he is resigning as chairman of CBS News and will focus full time on his role as executive producer of “60 Minutes.”

CBS News President David Rhodes will take over running the news division, the piece reports, noting that he will retain the title of president and will not be named chairman.

Fager, who has been executive producer of “60 Minutes” for 10 years, said in his memo: “Today I am announcing that I will be stepping down as Chairman of CBS News and returning my full attention to ’60 Minutes’ effective at the beginning of the new year.” He added that he and CBS President Leslie Moonves “agreed that when the time was right I would be able to return to ’60 Minutes’ full time.”

The report adds: “Fager became the first chairman of CBS News in 2011; he simultaneously kept his role as executive producer of ’60 Minutes.’ During his tenure, he oversaw the re-launch of ‘CBS This Morning’ as a harder news program with hosts Charlie Rose and Gayle King (Norah O’Donnell later joined).”

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David Rhodes

Nov 20, 2014
11:44 am

Why Jay Leno Backed Out of Vegas Gig (UPI)

Jay Leno has pulled the plug on an upcoming appearance in Las Vegas, and a spokesman for the former “Tonight Show” host said it had to do with Leno finding out what kind of an event he had agreed to participate in.

UPI reports that the event is a gun show put on by lobbyists against gun control whose group is based near the site of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

“Leno was scheduled to host the 2015 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show, but upon learning it was backed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation — a Newtown, Conn.-based pro-gun group, similar to the National Rifle Association — Leno quickly backed out and contacted the parents of victims of the 2012 shooting that killed 26 people,” the story reports.

Leno’s spokesman Bruce Bobbins said: “When it came to his attention that this was actually a pro-gun lobby show, [Leno] immediately canceled his appearance.”

Leno apparently had been under the impression that the show was non-political and was strictly about hunting.

The pro-gun organization blamed Leno’s cancellation on pressure from anti-gun advocates.

On its blog, the NSSF said: “[Leno] unilaterally cancelled his promised appearance due to pressure from the anti-gun lobby, which included false statements about our industry and its commitment to genuine firearms safety, which we attempted to personally correct with him, but to no avail.”

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Nov 20, 2014
9:29 am

NBC News Chief Answers ‘False Rumors’ of ‘Today’ Show Anchor Firings (Deadline, Us Weekly)

With media attention focused on apparent turmoil behind the scenes at NBC’s “Today” show, NBC News President Deborah Turness released a statement Wednesday shooting down what she called “false rumors,” reports.

The move came after Us Weekly ran a report saying “Today” anchors Natalie Morales and Willie Geist had been fired.

The statement from Turness says: “The entire ‘Today’ show anchor team — Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Carson Daly, Tamron Hall, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb — are incredibly talented, valued and have our support. In response to the false rumors that have been circulated about our anchor team, NBC wants to be absolutely clear: The rumors are wrong — period. This is the team we are committed to. And this is the team that our viewers turn to in the morning.”

The Us Weekly report came out after “Today” executive Jamie Horowitz was fired just 10 weeks after he had been hired to improve the morning show’s ratings, as we reported previously.

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Nov 20, 2014
9:21 am

Report: After ‘Cringe-Worthy’ Gaffes, NBC Execs Warn Al Roker to Think Before He Speaks

Al Roker was reportedly recently told by NBC executives that he needs to think before he speaks, following a number of “cringe-worthy live gaffes,” reports the New York Post’s Page Six.

The story cites a source characterizing the incident as an “Al Roker intervention.”

“Classic Roker-isms that left ‘Today’ producers wincing include when he insulted a woman by asking if her husband was her father, and telling a mother in the crowd on the ‘Today’ plaza on Oct. 15 that her crying baby looked like a ‘Japanese anime,’” the story reports.

Other past comments by Roker have also been noted, such as his confession last year that he soiled his pants at the White House.

Following the “intervention,” an NBC representative said, “Al would have had a comment, but it was inappropriate and over-the-top, so we decided we couldn’t release it.” But a source indicated that Roker took the feedback to heart and was prepared to make an effort.

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Al Roker on “Today”

Nov 20, 2014
9:17 am
Nov 20, 2014
9:01 am

‘Dallas’ Producers Tell Fans It’s the End of the Road for the Series (Deadline)

Just as the canceled A&E drama “Longmire” found a new home with Netflix, the canceled TNT drama “Dallas” has ended its search for a new network, reports

In a note posted Wednesday morning, “Dallas” showrunner Cynthia Cidre and executive producer Michael Robin “told supporters that efforts to find another network for the series have been unsuccessful, and this is officially the end of the road for the sequel to the hugely successful 1980s primetime soap,” the story reports.

Because producers of both “Longmire” and “Dallas” were caught off guard by the shows’ cancellations, both shows ended their third seasons with cliffhangers and introduction of new characters, the report notes.

In their note, Cidre and Robin wrote: “Well, we have come to the end. After a 6-week attempt to try and land our beloved ‘Dallas’ at another network, we have to inform you that we have not succeeded. Warner Horizon has attempted, in a Herculean way, to try and find us a new home, but at the end of the day it did not work out.”


“Dallas” (TNT)

Nov 20, 2014
8:49 am

ABC Firms Up Plans for Midseason Rollouts; New Programs to Fill Key Prime-Time Slots After Dramas Wrap (Deadline)

ABC has fleshed out its midseason programming plans, with two new series on the way as two current dramas are set to wrap their seasons. reports that the network set premiere dates for the dramas “American Crime” and “Secrets and Lies.” “American Crime,” from John Ridley, will succeed “How to Get Away with Murder” on Thursdays at 10 p.m. The show stars Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton, and will debut March 5.

“How to Get Away With Murder” closes out its freshman season Feb. 26 with a two-hour finale, the report notes.

Murder mystery “Secrets and Lies” will succeed “Resurrection” on Sundays at 9 p.m. The series stars Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis and will debut with a two-hour premiere March 1 from 9-11 p.m. before moving into its regular time slot.

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Nov 20, 2014
8:47 am

Hugh Laurie to Return to TV in First Role Since ‘House’ Ended (TVGuide)

Actor Hugh Laurie is returning to television, marking his first small-screen role since his long-running Fox drama series “House” ended in 2012.

TVGuide reports that Laurie will tackle a role on HBO’s “Veep.”

“The details of Laurie’s role — including whether or not it’s a one-time thing or a recurring character — are currently being guarded as tightly as the nuclear launch codes,” the story reports.

SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn’t finished watching season three of “Veep”: Better stop reading now.

The end of the third season of “Veep” found Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer becoming the president after the previous POTUS stepped down to take care of his ailing wife.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus: “Veep” (HBO)

Nov 20, 2014
8:44 am

Comedy Central Tweaks Plans for Show That Will Fill Vacated ‘Colbert Report’ Slot (NY Times)

Comedy Central has taken the wraps off updated plans for the show it will plug into the late-night slot vacated by “The Colbert Report.”

Writing in The New York Times, Bill Carter reports that the upcoming show, to star Larry Wilmore, has a new name — “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” — and a premiere date, Jan. 19.

“The Colbert Report” wraps Dec. 18, with host Stephen Colbert presumably taking a break before starting his high-profile gig on CBS as the replacement for David Letterman. Letterman’s retirement date and Colbert’s launch date on CBS’s “Late Show” have yet to be announced.

The new Comedy Central program was originally slated to be called “The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore,” which is reminiscent of the 2002 Steven Spielberg film “Minority Report.” That plan reportedly became complicated after Fox announced it was making a TV pilot based on the film, the story adds.

“The last thing you want is brand confusion,” Wilmore told the publication. The new name, “The Nightly Show,” was the simplest choice, he added.

The show will look at issues from the underdog point of view, and since the show wasn’t intended to focus only on minorities, the name change was probably a good thing, Wilmore noted.

“It was never intended to be a show only about minorities,” Wilmore said. “It’s a show about underdogs, and that happens in a lot of different forms, whether it’s race, gender, or whatever.”

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Larry Wilmore

Nov 20, 2014
8:41 am

Another Cosby Telecast Pulled Off TV (TheWrap)

Following NBC’s decision to dump a planned Bill Cosby sitcom and a move by Netflix to pull the plug on a Cosby special, another Cosby TV project has been pulled off TV.

In the latest apparent casualty of a swirl of rape allegations against the TV icon, reports that TV Land has yanked repeats of his classic sitcom “The Cosby Show.”

The decision marks another professional setback for Cosby. As previously reported, NBC decided to scrap its plans for a new family sitcom starring the actor and Netflix said it would shelve a planned Cosby special.

“The Cosby Show,” which aired from 1984 to 1992, starred Cosby as a lovable family patriarch and was the original anchor of NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup during the heyday of “Must-See TV.”

The actor has been hit with allegations from multiple women that he drugged and sexually assaulted them, including former “America’s Next Top Model” judge Janice Dickinson. Cosby’s attorney has denied Dickinson’s claims, and Cosby has repeatedly refused to discuss the allegations.

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“The Cosby Show”

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