Jul 25, 2017
5:36 pm

Nat Geo Releases a Batch of Summer TCA Trailers — Check Them Out (TVWeek, Nat Geo)

National Geographic today released trailers for a number of new programs including the scripted entries “The Long Road Home” and “The State.” Also in the lineup are “StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson,” “The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman,” “Diana: In Her Own Words” and “Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist.”
Here are the clips, along with details about each show …
StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson

The new season of StarTalk includes: Alan Alda, James Cameron, Jane Goodall, Janelle Monáe, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Katie Couric, Katy Perry, Kevin Smith, Lance Armstrong, Mae Jemison, Salman Rushdie, Sam Harris, Sylvia Earle, and Fabien Cousteau. Star Talk returns in October, on National Geographic.
The Long Road Home

Based on Martha Raddatz’s New York Times Best-Seller of the same name, the series relives a heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War, when the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ferociously ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad – a day that came to be known as “Black Sunday.” The series cuts between the action on the ground in Iraq and that of the homefront back in Texas, where wives and families await news for 48 hellish hours, expecting the worst. The Long Road Home premieres Tuesday, November 7 on National Geographic.
The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman

The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman focuses on topics of our shared humanity. Each of the six episodes will look at a force that has shaped humans since the beginning of time: power, belief, rebellion, war & peace, freedom and love. Morgan again travels around the world to meet people – from powerful world leaders, to ordinary people with extraordinary stories – to hear stories that are relatable on a global scale. “The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman” premieres Wednesday, October 11 on National Geographic.
The State

The State takes a bold, unflinching approach to telling the fact-inspired stories of young ISIS recruits and offers an authentic and nuanced look inside one of the most serious global threats we face today. After a year of extensive research and interviews, Golden Globe and BAFTA awards-winning writer and director Peter Kosminsky sheds light on an unknown and unimaginable world. The two night event series premieres Monday, Sept. 18 and Tuesday, Sept. 19 on National Geographic.
Diana: In Her Own Words

From executive producer and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Tom Jennings of 1895 Films, “Diana: In Her Own Words” weaves archival footage and photography with rarely heard recordings. Told entirely in the Princess’ voice, with no interviews, most of these unique recordings have never been broadcast before. “Diana: In Her Own Words” premieres Monday, August 14, on National Geographic.
Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist

With excerpts from Fossey’s own writings, the three-part special “Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist” allows the largely self-taught pioneer researcher to narrate her own tale, with Sigourney Weaver giving voice to these observations. The global mini-series event also features exclusive access to over 40 hours of rare and previously unseen film footage of Dian in her daily habituations and up-close study of gorillas. Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist premieres December 2017 on National Geographic.

Jul 25, 2017
1:51 pm

New Late-Night Entry Set for Fall
(TVWeek, Comedy Central)

A new entry in late-night talk, which is a spinoff of a successful current late-night show, has its title and start date locked in. Comedy Central announced today that it will launch “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper” on Monday, Sept. 25.

The show is a spinoff from Comedy Central’s late-night staple “The Daily Show.”

The show will “satirize the hyperbolic, conspiracy-laden noise machine that is the alternative-media landscape on both the right and left,” Comedy Central says in its announcement. “‘The Opposition’ is the voice of the new America. It is the America that defines its own reality. It’s the America of paid protestors, Obama’s birth certificate, and the certainty that CNN is fake news.”

Klepper has been keeping busy as a correspondent on “The Daily Show.” The new show is executive produced by Klepper, Stuart Miller and Trevor Noah with Kim Gamble and Ian Berger as co-executive producers and Owen Parsons as head writer.

Click here to read the full announcement.

Here’s an example of Klepper’s work on “The Daily Show” …

Jul 25, 2017
1:44 pm

Discovery Defends ‘Shark Week’ Special After Geting Blowback (Variety, TVbytheNumbers)

Discovey Channel went on the defensive after taking heat over a special that aired as part of its “Shark Week” programming. Viewers griped about Sunday’ night’s “Phelps vs. Shark” special that they expected would pit Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps against a great white shark in a swimming race.

The special, which helped kick off “Shark Week,” instead featured Phelps swimming against a CGI shark simulating the top speed of a great white shark based on scientific data.

“Viewers were upset, believing that Phelps was going to get into the water with a real shark,” Variety reports. “CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on Twitter, ‘Turns out “Michael Phelps races a shark” was really just “Michael Phelps swims alone and then compares his time to a shark’s time.”‘ Others chimed in as well, saying they felt ‘robbed’ or misled about the special.”

In a statement to Variety, Discovery said: “In ‘Phelps vs Shark’ we enlisted world class scientists to take up the challenge of making the world’s greatest swimmer competitive with a Great White. The show took smart science and technology to make the challenge more accessible and fun. All the promotion, interviews and the program itself made clear that the challenge wasn’t a side by side race. During Michael’s pre-show promotion, as well as within the first 2 minutes of ‘Phelps vs Shark,’ this message was clear and we are thrilled with the audience and the engagement around the world.”

Phelps lost the race by two seconds, but the special did well in the ratings. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that “Phelps vs. Shark” delivered a 1.9 average rating in the key 18-39 demo along with 4.782 million total viewers to place second in both measures among Sunday’s cable programs behind only “Game of Thrones” (4.3 in 18-49, 9.27 million total viewers).

Jul 25, 2017
12:44 pm

Why Disney Gave the Boot to Sitcom Star (KTLA, TVWeek, Twitter)

Disney parted ways with one of the stars of a Disney Channel sitcom on the heels of a report about the young actor and social media personality’s disruptive antics in his neighborhood in the Beverly Grove section of Los Angeles.

Jake Paul, one of the stars of “Bizaardvark,” confirmed the news of his break with Disney in a Twitter post, which you can read below. Paul has been described as a social media megastar, with more than 8.5 million followers on platforms including Instagram and YouTube.

In his Twitter post the 20-year-old Paul frames the move as partly his own decision, writing, “I have outgrown the channel and feel its time to move forward in my career. At this point in time I am wanting to focus more on my personal brand, my YouTube channel, business ventures, growing Team 10 and working on more adult acting roles.”

Disney has confirmed the split, calling it a mutual decision. But the move comes in the aftermath of a report last week by KTLA-TV saying Paul’s neighbors are fed up with his attention-grabbing antics, which reportedly included setting fire to furniture in an empty swimming pool.

Neighbors have complained about the circus-like atmosphere surrounding Paul’s rented home, where crowds of his followers have been gathering since his address went public.

Paul and the owner of the home could be hit with a class-action public nuisance lawsuit, KTLA reports.

Jul 25, 2017
12:31 pm

Nielsen to Count Viewers of Live TV Services From Hulu, YouTube (AP)

As the number of people who watch TV via streaming services continues to surge, Nielsen will begin to track how many viewers are getting their live TV from Hulu and YouTube, the AP reports.

Both Hulu and YouTube launched live TV services in the spring, with both services priced just under $40 a month. The companies have not provided information on how many people are subscribed, the AP notes.

“Subscribers can stream channels live on laptops, smartphones and elsewhere,” the story reports. “They can also record shows digitally or watch them on demand.”

Jul 25, 2017
11:29 am

Fox News Host Says She Was Targeted in Bar Ambush (TVWeek, Twitter, NY Post)

A Fox News Channel host reported that she was a victim of a targeted attack Monday night in a Brooklyn bar. Kat Timpf, a libertarian co-host of “Fox News Specialists,” says she was doused with water by an unknown male assailant during a campaign event for her friend Ben Kissel at Union Pool.

Kissel is running for Brooklyn Borough president, and Timpf, 28, was reportedly expected to speak at the event.

Timpf described the incident in a series to Twitter posts, writing: “I’m at Union Pool in BK, about to speak at my friend @BenKissel’s campaign event, a guy walks in, dumps an entire bottle of water on me … walks in, clearly here because he knows I’m here, dumps an entire 1.5 liter bottle of water on me, first on my head and then I turn … to look and he splashes it directly on my face and runs out. I’m shocked, I’m stunned. I’m obviously upset. I end up not being able … to speak because of it. I’ve never seen a more disgusting insane cruel climate than the one we’re in now. Why? What does that … accomplish? I guess I wasn’t able to speak so that’s great and I guess he wins, but we’re just randomly assaulting people in public now?”

The New York Post reports that the incident was captured on security footage, which was reportedly turned over to police. Timpf filed a police report in connection with the incident, the story reports.

The assailant, who did not say anything during the attack, has been described as a white male in his 20s or 30s.

Kat Timpf (Twitter)


Jul 25, 2017
10:27 am

Less-Than-Stellar Premieres for New NBC, ABC Dramas (TVWeek)

The premieres Monday night of two new prime-time broadcast series produced a collective yawn from the viewers, based on preliminary ratings data.

NBC’s ‘Midnight, Texas” and ABC’s “Somewhere Between” premiered opposite each other in the 10 p.m. slot, with the NBC drama delivering a 0.9 average rating in the key 18-49 demo along with 3.6 million total viewers, to a 0.6 demo rating and 3.07 million total viewers for the new ABC entry, based on Nielsen overnights.

In the same time slot, a repeat of CBS’s “Scorpion” had a 0.4 average in 18-49 with 3.36 million total viewers.

Earlier in the evening, ABC’s two-hour “The Bachelorette” averaged a 1.6 in the 18-49 demo with 6.32 million total viewers to lead broadcast prime for the night in both measures — ahead of NBC’s two-hour “American Ninja Warrior” with a 1.4 demo number and 5.68 million total viewers.

ABC and NBC finished the night with matching 1.3 averages in 18-49 for prime time overall, well ahead of Fox’s 0.6 and CBS’s 0.5 for an all-repeat lineup. ABC had the edge in total viewers for prime time with 5.24 million, just ahead of NBC’s 4.99 million, followed by CBS with 3.56 million and Fox with 2.26 million.

Jul 25, 2017
9:39 am

NBC Lands NASCAR Star for Broadcast Booth (AP, TVWeek)

One of the top drivers in NASCAR is headed to the broadcast booth as part of a new deal with NBC Sports. The AP reports that Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has been named the stock car racing organization’s most popular driver every year since 2003, will be a part of NBC’s racing coverage.

“The agreement with NBCUniversal will allow Earnhardt to pursue ‘a wide range of opportunities in the company’s media businesses, including movies, television, podcasts, and other areas.’ The agreement was announced Monday by NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus and NBC Sports Executive Producer and President of Production Sam Flood,” the AP reports.

Said Lazarus: “We are excited to welcome Dale Jr. to our team — both on and off the track. As a company, NBCUniversal allows for talent to stretch themselves across not just their field of expertise, but across other areas of their interests in the media world.”

Earnhardt recently announced that he will retire from racing at the end of the current season.

“Two big crashes last summer forced him out of the final 18 races, and he missed two races during the 2012 playoffs also because of concussion-related symptoms,” the AP reports. “The 42-year-old Earnhardt intends to compete in two Xfinity Series races next season and plans to be involved in the sport in other ways — when his broadcasting duties allow it.”

Jul 25, 2017
9:27 am

Oscar Winner in the Mix to Replace Amy Schumer as Big Screen’s First Barbie (Deadline)

Following the exit of Amy Schumer from Sony Pictures’ upcoming Barbie feature film, Oscar winner Anne Hathaway is the focus of rumors about who will wind up as Barbie. Deadline.com reports that Hathaway, who won an Oscar in 2013 for “Les Miserables,” is talking about joining the project, although the studio said, “It is premature.”

The report notes that Alethea Jones, who has Hathaway’s backing, is in consideration to direct.

Hathaway’s name came up previously, soon after Schumer walked away from the movie back in March.

“The first big-screen, live-action Barbie film promises to get a huge marketing push from Sony and its partner Mattel in summer 2018,” Deadline notes.

Jul 25, 2017
8:51 am

New Series on the Way From ‘The Simpsons’ Creator (TVbytheNumbers)

The creator of Fox’s animated Sunday night institution “The Simpsons” has a series order for 20 episodes of his new project, “Disenchantment.” TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the series from Matt Groening, which will be split into two 10-episode releases, is coming to Netflix.

The first 10 episodes of the new animated series are due in 2018.

“The show is set in a fantasy kingdom called Dreamland, but as you’d expect from Groening, it’s not all happy times,” the story reports. “Dreamland is down on its luck, and the main character, Bean (Abbi Jacobson of ‘Broad City’), is described as a ‘hard-drinking young princess.’ An elf named Elfo (Nat Faxon) and Bean’s personal demon Luci (Eric Andre) are always with her.”

Said Groening: “Ultimately, ‘Disenchantment’ will be about life and death, love and sex, and how to keep laughing in a world full of suffering and idiots, despite what the elders and wizards and other jerks tell you.”

Frequent Groening collaborator Josh Weinstein will executive produce the show along with Groening.

Fans of Groening’s “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” will recognize many of the names in the voice cast, which includes John DiMaggio, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille and David Herman.

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