Sep 2, 2015
12:57 pm

Rebooted ‘Daily Show’ Adds Three Correspondents, Retains Many Key Players From Jon Stewart’s Tenure (TVWeek)

As Comedy Central’s “Daily Show with Trevor Noah” closes in on its launch date later this month, the rebooted program is staffing up.

Noah makes his debut Monday, Sept. 28, taking over the spot that was held down by Jon Stewart for 16-plus years. Today the program announced the additions of three new correspondents: Ronny Chieng, Desi Lydic and Roy Wood Jr.

The show also announced that Jordan Klepper, Hasan Minhaj, Jessica Williams, Lewis Black, John Hodgman, Al Madrigal, Aasif Mandvi and Kristen Schaal, veterans of the Stewart era, will be back with the show.

Please click here for full details on the new correspondents and other updates.

Here’s a teaser for the new show:

Sep 2, 2015
12:44 pm
Sep 2, 2015
12:31 pm

Fox News Anchor Files $5 Million Lawsuit Over Toy Hamster (AP)

An anchor on Fox News Channel is going to court with a $5 million lawsuit over a toy hamster. The AP reports that Harris Faulkner sued toymaker Hasbro over the plastic Harris Faulkner hamster — a toy that “shares her name — and possibly even her resemblance,” the story notes.

The toy hamster is included in Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop line.

“She says the toy wrongfully appropriates her name and persona, harms her professional credibility as a journalist and is an insult,” the story reports.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, reportedly says: “Hasbro’s portrayal of Faulkner as a rodent is demeaning and insulting.”

Faulkner, who has been with Fox News for a decade, hosts the daytime program “Outnumbered” and anchors a newscast on Sunday evenings.

“Her lawsuit says that in addition to sharing her name, the toy bears a physical resemblance to Faulkner’s traditional professional appearance, including its complexion, eye shape and eye makeup design,” the AP reports. “The Harris Faulkner toy was introduced in 2014, according to the lawsuit, and was sold in a package as the pet hamster of a terrier named Benson Detwyler. Other toys in the popular line include animals named Pancakes Watkins, Puffball Petrovsky and Pepper Clark.”

harris faulkner hamster-hasbroHarris Faulkner hamster (Hasbro)

Sep 2, 2015
12:17 pm

Sony Under Fire Over Another Movie (NY Times, LA Times)

Nine months after a damaging hacking attack, the repercussions continue for Sony. In the latest dustup, the company finds itself on the defensive over a movie about concussions in the NFL.

The New York Times reports that Sony toned down a number of elements in the movie, apparently to appease the NFL. The movie, “Concussion,” stars Will Smith and is due for release in December.

The hassle over “Concussion” comes after Sony got in trouble with North Korea over its movie “The Interview,” with many observers concluding that North Korea was behind the hacking incident.

“In the end even Sony, which unlike most other major studios in Hollywood has no significant business ties to the NFL, found itself softening some points it might have made against the multibillion-dollar sports enterprise that controls the nation’s most-watched game,” The Times reports.

“In dozens of studio emails unearthed by hackers, Sony executives; the director, Peter Landesman; and representatives of Mr. Smith discussed how to avoid antagonizing the NFL by altering the script and marketing the film more as a whistle-blower story, rather than a condemnation of football or the league,” the report adds.

Sony was critical of the report. The Los Angeles Times reports that Sony released a statement today saying the New York Times story included “many misleading inferences” and adding that “nothing with regard to this important story has been ‘softened’ to placate anyone.”

The L.A. Times story adds: “The studio even put out a statement attributed to sportscaster Bob Costas: ‘I have seen the movie. As one who has followed, and commented on, this issue, it doesn’t appear to me many punches were pulled.'”

Here’s a trailer for “Concussion”:

Sep 2, 2015
12:11 pm

Hulu Launches Commercial-Free Streaming (NY Times)

In a move that may strengthen Hulu’s position as an alternative to Netflix and Amazon, Hulu announced today that it is launching a commercial-free version of its streaming video service.

The New York Times reports that the new service is priced at $12 per month, vs. about $8 for the ad-supported version.

“To date, Hulu has stood as the exception among the prominent subscription-based streaming services because it included commercials that could not be skipped, even for its pay service,” The Times reports. “In the fierce competition for streaming subscribers, Hulu hopes it will lure more people to sign up by offering both a cheaper ad-supported and an ad-free option, said Mike Hopkins, Hulu’s chief executive.”

Hopkins is quoted in the report saying: “You can split people into two categories: ad avoiders and ad acceptors. There are clearly people who just are not going to buy Hulu because there are ads. We think we can bring them back into the fold with new content and this new choice.”

Hulu’s current subscriber base is dwarfed by Netflix, with Hulu having about 9 million U.S. subscribers to 41 million for Netflix.


Sep 2, 2015
12:01 pm

Crown Media Family Networks Names New Director of Original Programming (TVWeek)

Crown Media Family Networks, the home of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, announced today that it has appointed experienced producer and writer Cameron Larson as director of original programming.

Larson is based in Studio City and reports to Randy Pope, senior vice president of programming and development.

“Larson is charged with overseeing content from ideation to execution as well as developing original movies across both networks,” the company said in the announcement. “Working in tandem with the entire programming department, Larson is responsible for casting, evaluating scripts and acting as brand manager for key projects. Additionally, he will collaborate closely and build relationships with the creative community.”

Michelle Vicary, executive vice president, programming and network publicity, commented: “Cameron joins Crown Media Family Networks at an exciting juncture for our business, as we continue to expand our programming slates for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. His experience and proven track record will make him a valuable part of our talented programming team and I am confident he will be a great collaborator in the development of new quality content for our two distinct networks.”

The announcement adds: “Most recently, as a writer and producer for Aviator Entertainment, Larson developed and produced a variety of projects, including independent features as well as original movies for Syfy Channel. He has also held positions in development at MarVista Entertainment, with a focus on original programming for The N, Syfy, Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, ION Network, and Disney Channel. Larson holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Hamilton College.”

cameron larsonCameron Larson

Sep 2, 2015
9:44 am

‘Dancing With the Stars’ Unveils Full LIneup for Star-Studded 21st Season — Including a First for the Show (TVWeek)

The hit ABC competition program “Dancing with the Stars” unveiled a lineup of celebrities that includes a first for the show — its first married couple.

Also in the lineup, according to today’s announcement, are three platinum-certified music superstars, an Academy Award nominee, a Triple Crown winner and an American hero.

Among the notable names in the star-studded lineup for Season 21 are Paula Deen, Gary Busey, Nick Carter and Chaka Khan.

Husband and wife Carlos PenaVega and Alexa PenaVega are both competing — although they will not be partnered with each other. Alexa is known for her roles in films including the blockbuster “Spy Kids” movies, and Carlos made a big splash in the Nickelodeon musical comedy “Big Time Rush.”

Please click here to see the full lineup of dance partners, along with details about each of the celebrity contestants.

dancing with the stars-cast reveal-season 21

Sep 2, 2015
9:09 am

Why One Media Giant’s Plunge in Stock Prices Is Outpacing the Rest of the Industry (NY Post)

A media giant with a massive television portfolio has seen stock prices fall a whopping 50.2% in the past year — a plunge that is outpacing the overall industry decline. The New York Post reports that the stock plunge at Viacom has wiped out $16 billion of the company’s value, as of Tuesday’s close.

Much of Viacom’s media empire consists of cable TV channels, including MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Spike, Epix, Nickelodeon, TV Land and BET.

“After watching ratings at the company’s MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike and Comedy Central fall more sharply than their peers — with nary a response from Viacom’s executive team — investors are now watching the company’s shares tumble at a faster rate than other media companies,” the Post reports.

The report notes that since Jan. 3, 2006, when Viacom and CBS were split off into separate companies, CBS shares have gained 72% while Viacom is down 2%.

Adding to investors’ nervousness, the report notes, is anxiety over upcoming carriage talks with Dish Networks.

“Investors are concerned that Dish will be able to force Viacom to accept a cheap price — something Viacom will then have to give its other distribution partners,” the Post reports. “In addition, questions are still swirling about how Viacom will replace the popular show hosts Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert and comedy duo Key and Peele — all of whom exited Comedy Central.”

Other concerns have been noted about Sumner Redstone, the 92-year-old head of the company, along with Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman.

We encourage you to click on the link in the first paragraph, above, to read the Post’s full analysis of the Viacom situation.

daily show-jon stewart-comedy central

Sep 2, 2015
9:01 am

Three News Anchors Quit Station in Five Days (Adweek)

An NBC affiliate has experienced a sudden exodus by its on-air news personalities. The first of three anchors to bail out on Casper, Wyo., station KCWY-DT was Jeff Platt, who announced his departure Friday, Adweek reports.

Platt wrote on his Facebook page Friday: “Tonight I signed off and said goodbye to my News 13 team, family, and most importantly viewers. I am proud to have worked and lived in the state of Wyoming and the city of Casper. I have covered stories which have impacted peoples’ lives. I have seen them on their worst days and their best. I thank you all for welcoming me into your homes, your lives, and your community. You taught this Brooklyn, NY guy the code of the west, and how to truly be a Cowboy. My heart will always remain ‘Forever West.'”

Platt’s exit was followed by an announcement Sunday by Tony Cedrone that he was out the door. Cedrone gave an on-air farewell and wrote on Twitter: “Thanks! For now, back to family in Philly for a short while. My next news station is still in the works! Watch 10pm!”

Then on Tuesday morning, Amanda del Castillo gave an emotional signoff on the air. She followed up on Facebook, writing: “Ahaa! Everyone thought I was going to cry… and maybe I did… it’s just the ten pounds of makeup hiding it! Haha. Hope everyone enjoyed Today in Wyoming as much as I have! Thanks again for tuning in!”

The Adweek report notes that the publication was seeking an explanation for the rash of departures, but had not heard back from the station.

KCWY, owned by Gray Television, is the NBC affiliate for most of Wyoming.


Sep 2, 2015
8:57 am

We Think This Is a Tough Question: Which Cable Channel Is No. 1 for the Summer in Prime Time Among Women 18-34? (TVWeek)

You may have a hard time coming up with the answer to the question of which channel is No. 1 this summer in prime-time cable in the demo of women 18-34 — even though the channel has now won that title for the third time in the past four summers.

The channel is ABC Family, which announced that it has averaged 200,000 in the demo to come out on top. The channel noted that it has also been among the top five cable networks for six consecutive summers in adults 18-34 (No. 5 this summer, averaging 275,000) and women 18-49 (No. 4 with 328,000).

It’s also ABC Family’s seventh consecutive summer in the top five in viewers 12-34 (No. 4; 397,000) and its eighth in a row in females 12-34 (No. 2; 295,000).

The channel has an especially hot show in “Pretty Little Liars,” winner of six 2015 Teen Choice Awards.

“’Pretty Little Liars’ stood as cable TV’s #1 series in Adults 18-34 (1.45 million/2.1 rating), Women 18-34 (1.23 million/3.6 rating), Viewers 12-34 (2.10 million/2.3 rating) and Females 12-34 (1.83 million/4.0 rating) and was the #1 scripted basic cable TV series in Adults 18-49 (1.94 million/1.5 rating) and Women 18-49 (1.62 million/2.5 rating),” ABC Family said in a press release.

The network also noted that “The Fosters” was the No. 2 scripted cable TV series in women 18-34 (561,000/1.7 rating) and females 12-34 (927,000/2.0 rating), while “Baby Daddy” ranked as the No. 2 cable TV comedy of the summer in women 18-34 (384,000/1.1 rating)

Source: NTI, U.S. Ratings. Summer 15 (Most Current=L+7: 6/1/15-8/16/15; L+SD: 8/17/15-8/30/15). Series ranks based on originals only with minimum 5 telecasts.

pretty little liars

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