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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
10:36 pm
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Debate Rages About Renee Zellweger’s New Look: Did Happiness Do It? Should We Care? (People, CNN, USA Today)

Social media has been on overdrive this week after Academy Award-winning actress Renee Zellweger hit the red carpet at an event in Beverly Hills on Monday and revealed a new look.

The big surprise is that her face didn’t look like the Renee Zellweger that most of us are used to seeing. Many speculated on social media that she had had some plastic surgery. In response, Zellweger, 45, told People magazine earlier today, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, in an exclusive, that she thought the discussion was “silly,” but she had decided to release a statement to People because “it seems the folks who come digging around for some nefarious truth which doesn’t exist won’t get off my porch until I answer the door.”

A key portion of Zellweger’s statement says: “I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.”

Her statement set off even more discussion.

Writes CNN correspondent Kelly Wallace on CNN’s website, “I happen to agree with Renee Zellweger that all the chatter about her face is ‘silly.’

“But I, and many other women I talked with via email Wednesday, would add some other choice words to the mix to describe the non-stop attention about her appearance following her first red carpet event in years: nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.

“Why do we, the public, feel so free to pick apart the appearance of a woman who is aging in the public eye? What does this say about us and how we treat and value women?”

Later in her piece Wallace writes, “I’ve written story after story about how we want to do everything we can to build up confidence in our girls and remove any notion that their worth is connected to their appearance. So, what kind of message does all this talk about Zellweger’s face and whether she did or did not use plastic surgery send to our daughters and our sons?”

Ann Oldenburg, on the website of USA Today, talks about what she says is this “pop culture” debate about Zellweger and then poses the question: “So could happiness actually account for her new look?”

She quotes people who support both sides of the issue. For example, she quotes a website that says, “With increasing blood flow to the skin, being in a happy relationship gives your skin cells nutrients and oxygen to make you look physically younger.”

Oldenburg adds, “Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of ‘Calling in “The One”’ and founding faculty member of the Evolving Wisdom institute, which is devoted to inspiring and encouraging enlightenment, says yes. ‘Falling in love floods our bodies with hormones. Any of us who have really fallen in love know that people say, “You look great! What happened?”‘”

Oldenburg also quotes plastic surgeons who think Zellweger has had some plastic surgery.

Furthermore, the Oldenburg piece includes this: “[Kathie Lee Gifford, on Wednesday’s ‘Today’ show,] declaring Zellweger ‘beautiful,’ threw down the feminism card. ‘We all say we’re so for feminism, which is a woman’s choice to do what she wants with her own body. What about if she wants to go to spa? Or get her eyes done? I’m not saying she’s had any of these things done. But that’s her prerogative. Let her be! Don’t be so mean-spirited about these things.’ ”

If you are interested in reading more about this debate we urge you to click on the links in this item, which will take you to the original articles.

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Renee Zellweger has a new look, as seen in this TV footage of her walking the red carpet at an event in Beverly Hills earlier this week

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
1:21 pm
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World Series Delivers a Ratings Win for Fox (TVbytheNumbers)

Fox claimed a prime-time ratings win on the opening night of the World Series, based on Nielsen overnights for Tuesday in the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the game, in which the San Francisco Giants took an early lead and went on to trounce the Kansas City Royals 7-1, averaged a preliminary 2.9 rating in viewers 18-49 with 10.68 million total viewers. The report notes that the numbers are likely to change after final adjustments due to the nature of live sports coverage.

The numbers for the Series weren’t the best of the night, either in the demo or in total viewers. In viewers 18-49, NBC’s “The Voice” led all prime-time broadcast programs with a 3.1, and in total viewers, CBS’s “NCIS” was No. 1 with 16.88 million.

Both “NCIS” and “NCIS: New Orleans” delivered 2.4 average ratings for CBS in adults 18-49, with the flagship series ticking down one-tenth of a point from last week while “N.O.” rose two-tenths. CBS’s “Person of Interest” remained at the series low it hit last week, a 1.5.

NBC led out from “The Voice” with “Marry Me,” which saw a decline of four-tenths from a week ago and hit a 1.9 average in 18-49. “About a Boy” was off three-tenths with a 1.4, while “Chicago Fire” held steady with a 1.9.

ABC’s results were mixed as the network drew an unusually low demo number for a big four network series with a 0.7 average in 18-49 for “Manhattan Love Story,” which was down two-tenths of a point from a week ago. The show’s lead-in, “Selfie,” drifted up one-tenth to a 1.1.

ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” fell two-tenths from a week ago to a series-low 1.5 average in viewers 18-49, while the 10 p.m. drama “Forever” climbed one-tenth to a 1.2.

CW fell just below ABC’s overall number as “The Flash” lost three-tenths from a week ago in 18-49 to record a 1.4 average while “Supernatural” slipped one-tenth to a 0.9.

For prime time overall, Fox’s preliminary 2.9 average in 18-49 led the way, followed by NBC (2.2 average), CBS (2.1), ABC (1.2) and CW (1.1). CBS held the lead in total viewers with 14.0 million, ahead of Fox (10.7 million), NBC (8.1 million), ABC (4.1 million) and CW (2.7 million).

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
1:19 pm
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Report: Neil Patrick Harris Was No. 4 on the Oscars’ Wish List — Here Are the Three Who Were Ahead of Him and Turned Down the Job (THR)

Even though Neil Patrick Harris has had wildly successful hosting gigs on other awards shows — the Tonys in particular — he wasn’t the Motion Picture Academy’s first choice to host the upcoming Oscars ceremony, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

As we reported previously, Harris was named last week as the host of the Academy Awards, set to air Feb. 22 on ABC. His tour-de-force appearances in recent years on the Tonys have become the stuff of legend — you can see a prime example by clicking here.

But THR reports that the academy’s first choice was a return appearance by last year’s host, Ellen DeGeneres, who declined the offer.

“Next on the wish list was Chris Rock, with whom DeGeneres shares ICM Partners agent Eddy Yablans, but a deal failed to materialize. Producers then expressed interest in Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who also said no,” the story reports.

Harris has hosted the Tony Awards four times and the Emmys twice — in 2009 and 2013.

“But the Oscars job is another level altogether, a three-hour plate-spinning act that has felled bigger stars (like James Franco and Anne Hathaway) and comedy giants (like David Letterman and, more recently, Seth MacFarlane),” the THR report notes, adding: “For many, the degree of difficulty is too great to justify even trying.”

ellen degeneres-oscars selfie-2014Ellen DeGeneres and the famed selfie from the 2014 Oscars

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
1:17 pm
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TNT Greenlights Series About Sex Crimes (Variety)

TNT is moving forward with a series focusing on sex crimes. Variety reports that the cable channel ordered a spinoff to the reality investigation series “Cold Justice” that will zero in on unsolved cases.

“The untitled series, produced by Wolf Reality and Magical Elves, will follow a pair of crime experts as they travel the country to assist local law enforcement in closing long-unsolved cases involving sex-related crimes,” the story reports. “Ten episodes have been ordered for a spring 2015 premiere. Former Harris County, Texas, prosecutors Casey Garrett and Alicia O’Neill will headline the series.”

“Cold Justice” expert Kelly Siegler will be an executive producer on the new series, along with Dick Wolf, Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, and Tom Thayer, the report notes.

Said Siegler: “This new ‘Cold Justice’ series on sex crimes is about the healing that can come for survivors and their loved ones when an assailant is finally brought to justice. But it’s also about the bravery it takes for survivors of sexual assault to come forward and tell their stories, which in turn helps investigators close cases that can prevent the assailant from abusing others.”

Cold Justice

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
1:11 pm
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Fox Gives Vote of Confidence to New Series (EW)

Despite its soft ratings performance so far this season, a new Fox series has received a vote of confidence from the network. EW.com’s Inside TV reports that Fox ordered four additional scripts for the freshman drama “Red Band Society.”

“The move keeps the production’s momentum under way should the network want to fully commit to more episodes,” the report notes. “In renewal/cancellation terms, such a decision typically means the network hasn’t made up its mind yet on a show’s fate (previously, Fox ordered six more episodes of new Monday night drama ‘Gotham’).”

“Red Band Society” has been less than stellar in overnight ratings, most recently settling for a 1.0 average in the key 18-49 demo with 3.2 million total viewers. But the report notes that the series is picking up about an extre 70% to 80% when DVR viewing is added in — fairly high percentages.

“Inventory plays a role too — Fox would need a stronger performer for the slot before deciding to shed it,” the report adds.

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
1:07 pm
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ABC Announces Companion Series to Popular Show (TVWeek)

ABC announced today that, inspired by the success of one of its series, it will air a 10-part companion series to the show. The new show, “Beyond the Tank,” is a complement to the reality series “Shark Tank.”

“Audiences familiar with the compelling ups and downs of the negotiations will be further engaged in the drama that takes place after the entrepreneurs’ appearance on ‘Shark Tank.’ What lies in the aftermath of their investment? Did a promising deal turn sour or launch a million dollar profit margin? After closer inspection of the business, did the Sharks or the entrepreneur back out of the deal?,” the announcement says.

The 10 one-hour episodes will be produced by Sony Pictures Television and United Artists Media Group and will air on ABC.

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
8:01 am
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‘The Simpsons’ Sued for $250 Million Over One of Its Characters (Deadline)

Fox’s long-running animated hit “The Simpsons” has been slapped with a lawsuit claiming the show ripped off an actor for his character.

“Goodfellas” actor Frank Sivero is suing over the character Louie on the Fox show, demanding $250 million and claiming that the TV show ripped off his Frankie Carbone character, reports Deadline.com.

“This is so good and so big that you have to wonder if it is a joke — in which case the state courts are going to be plenty peeved off,” the article notes.

Sivero alleges that his “Goodfellas” character is the basis for the Springfield Mafia’s Louie, and that “Simpsons” producer James L. Brooks was “highly aware of who Sivero was, the fact that he created the role of Frankie Carbone, and that ‘The Simpsons’ character Louie would be based on this character.”

The article notes, “While likeness lawsuits bounce around the courts all the time, this has to be one of the biggest in terms of the cash the plaintiff is seeking and the time he has waited to go after it.”

“Goodfellas,” directed by Martin Scorsese, was released in 1990. The movie received six Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director, and Joe Pesci won an Oscar for his supporting performance as Tommy DeVito in the film.

Louie, who is described as a henchman for the long-running “Simpsons” mob boss Fat Tony, reportedly first appeared on the show back in 1991, on the episode “Bart the Murderer.”

Fox had no comment on the lawsuit.

Louie on Simpsons-Frankie Carbone in Goodfellas

Louie on “The Simpsons” and Frankie Carbone in “Goodfellas”

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
8:00 am
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How PBS Used Binge Watching to Pull In More Than 33 Million Viewers (Variety)

PBS took the binge-watching bull by the horns, using the phenomenon to bring in a huge audience for its Ken Burns documentary series “The Roosevelts,” Brian Steinberg writes in Variety.

“PBS appears to have cracked the nut on getting people to do it with a TV network more firmly in control of the process,” Steinberg writes. “PBS’s recent broadcast of ‘The Roosevelts,’ an epic 14-hour series, reached more than 33.3 million viewers who tuned in to local PBS stations to watch the Ken Burns-helmed series, according to Nielsen live-plus-seven data released Wednesday by the network. The numbers are surprising because PBS ran the series in prime time over seven consecutive nights, from Sunday, Sept. 14, to Saturday, Sept. 20, demanding a significant time commitment from viewers.”

The report cites top PBS programming exec Beth Hoppe saying the numbers are “unheard of” for a documentary series in this fragmented TV era, with PBS normally attracting its biggest crowds for drama series. PBS execs, Steinberg notes, say the availability on digital platforms such as Roku and on the Internet contributed to the turnout.

Said Hoppe: “It looks like it was largely catch-up. Few people tried to jump ahead and often came back into the broadcast.” She attributed the pattern in part to the community aspect of the event as it aired on PBS stations.

“The average audience for all seven episodes of ‘The Roosevelts’ was 9.2 million, making the series the third highest-rated Ken Burns program on PBS following 1990’s ‘The Civil War’ and 1997’s ‘Lewis and Clark’ — and both of those series aired at a time when PBS had fewer competitors,” Steinberg writes.

Burns is quoted in the report saying: “I think it’s a real validation of long-form video. It is said of the American people that they have the attention span of a gnat, that they are not interested in a fairly complex narrative over a long period of time, and this experiment worked — in the midst of a new fall season, you can run a program over seven straight nights and get the viewers to follow you.”

PBS said it notched its most-watched week in 20 years for the week when episodes two through seven of “The Roosevelts” aired — the most since episodes two through six of “Baseball” aired back in 1994.

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TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
7:58 am
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Toys R Us Pulls Toys Based on Acclaimed — and Grown-Up — TV Show Off the Shelves (LA Times)

Toys based on a critically acclaimed TV series are being pulled from the shelves by retailer Toys R Us. The Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports that the toy chain said it’s pulling the “Breaking Bad” toys after they sparked a petition from a Florida mother.

Toys R Us called the move an “indefinite sabbatical” for the toy line, according to the report.

The online petition was started by Susan Schrivjer of Fort Myers, and drew more than 8,500 supporters. She was outraged to find the toy store carried figurines based on the AMC series about a chemistry teacher who becomes a meth dealer, calling the toys inappropriate.

“Let’s just say, the action figures have taken an ‘indefinite sabbatical’,” Toys R Us said in a statement. It had no other comment.

“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston voiced his view on the subject via Twitter, writing, “’Florida mom petitions against Toys ‘R Us over Breaking Bad action figures.’ I’m so mad, I’m burning my Florida Mom action figure in protest.”

The drama series, which wrapped in fall 2013 after five seasons on AMC, is one of the most acclaimed TV shows ever, including winning six Emmys earlier this year, with Cranston receiving his fourth Emmy for lead actor in a drama series for his work on the show.

The series won Emmys for outstanding drama series in 2013 and 2014, and during its run was honored by the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, AFI, DGA, Television Critics Association, WGA and Critics Choice Awards, among other honors, along with a string of Emmys.

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“Breaking Bad” Walter White action figures

TVBIZWIRE
Oct 22, 2014
7:57 am
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Barbara Walters Adds Another Twist to Her Retirement Saga (TVNewser)

Barbara Walters, who retired from her on-air role on “The View” back in May and has been toying with varying degrees of retirement and semi-retirement for at least 10 years, added the latest twist to her on-again, off-again retirement.

While last year was slated to mark the last of Walters’ “10 Most Fascinating” specials, TVNewser reports that the program will now return in December.

ABC will air a 2-hour special on Sunday, Dec. 14, with Walters hosting. The program will feature Oprah Winfrey, Neil Patrick Harris, Chelsea Handler and Scarlett Johansson, although Walters only reveals the No. 1 most fascinating person when the special airs, the story adds.

“[Y]ou never pass up the opportunity to interview Oprah, Neil, Chelsea or Scarlett,” Walters said.

The special will be executive produced by Bill Geddie, who was the co-executive producer of “The View” until this summer.

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