Oct 26, 2016
4:20 pm

‘Mad Men’ Creator Returns to TV (Deadline)

Matthew Weiner, creator of AMC’s critically acclaimed drama series “Mad Men,” is returning to television with a new series for Amazon, Deadline.com reports.

“After heated bidding between six entities, we have learned that the project has landed at The Weinstein Company and Amazon to air on the streaming service, in a $70 million commitment for [an] eight-episode straight-to-series order,” the story reports, noting that the series will be co-financed by Weinstein and Amazon.

Deadline adds: “After re-creating the 1960s in his iconic AMC series ‘Mad Men,’ Weiner is turning his attention to present day with the untitled series, which we hear is contemporary anthology set in multiple locations worldwide. Weiner is creating, writing and executive producing. He also is expected to direct about half the episodes in the first season, we hear.”

Weiner is quoted in the report saying: “In a time when there are so many options for entertainment, it’s been tremendous to see how Roy Price and Amazon have taken center stage by distinguishing themselves through bold choices. I am truly excited to have this opportunity to work with risk takers like them and Harvey and The Weinstein Company, who have a proven, longstanding commitment to creative voices and innovation.”


Oct 26, 2016
4:09 pm

Colbert Teases His Election Night Special (Showtime)

Stephen Colbert is pumping up his live election night special, to be televised Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on Showtime.

Here’s a teaser released today …

Oct 26, 2016
3:59 pm

Strong TV Turnout for World Series Opener (TVWeek)

Tuesday’s opening game of the World Series delivered the best numbers for Game 1 of the Fall Classic since 2009, based on Nielsen Metered Market data, Fox Sports announced.

The clash between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians — won by Cleveland, 6-0 — powered Fox to a prime-time win, with the network projecting the game as Fox’s highest-rated prime-time telecast of the broadcast season.

The game delivered a 12.6/21 overnight rating/share, according to Nielsen Media Research. That represents a 20% increase over last year’s opener (10.5/18; New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals) and a 58% surge from 2014 (8.0/13; San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals).

“World Series Game 1 powered Fox to an easy win across all networks in prime time on Tuesday night and the 12.6 overnight rating is the best metered-market rating for a World Series Game 1 since 2009 (vs. 13.8/22; Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Yankees), projecting to rank as the network’s highest-rated prime-time telecast of the broadcast season,” Fox announced.


Oct 26, 2016
3:42 pm

Infamous Siege Comes to TV as Scripted Series (TVWeek)

A deadly real-world siege is the focus of a new drama series that’s in the works for TV. Spike TV announced that it has landed the event series “Waco” from Weinstein Television.

The six-part series is based on the infamous FBI siege of the Branch Davidians headquarters in Waco, Texas, in 1993.

The project goes into production next spring, with Michael Shannon and Taylor Kitsch to star.

“‘Waco’ will forever change the way the dramatic siege will be viewed,” Spike TV said in an announcement. “The landmark series will be the definitive untold story exploring the true life details leading up to and chronicling the 51- day siege between the FBI, AFT and David Koresh’s spiritual sect, The Branch Davidians.”

Please click here for additional details in the Spike TV announcement.


Oct 26, 2016
1:07 pm

A Troubling Rumor About NBC’s Jimmy Fallon Resurfaces (NY Post)

NBC late-night mainstay Jimmy Fallon has been warned by his bosses at the network to cut back on his alcohol consumption, according to a report by The New York Post’s Page Six that cites “multiple insiders” at the network.

The “Tonight Show” host, who recently had his contract with NBC extended through late 2021, reportedly received the warning following what the story calls “a series of bizarre late-night accidents.”

The Post quotes an NBC insider saying: “There were fears that Fallon was out of control and something could happen while he’s out drinking. Things got so serious at one stage that execs feared that Jimmy was splitting up with his wife over his drinking, but they patched things up.”

The report adds: “The beloved ‘Tonight Show’ host’s recent allegedly alcohol-aided antics include tripping on a rug at home and nearly severing his ring finger on a table in June 2015. Then he chipped his tooth ‘trying to open medicine for his injured finger’ a few months later. In October 2015 he cut his hand on a bottle of Jagermeister. In September of this year a ‘very drunk’ Fallon was seen alone at an NYC punk bar at 3 a.m, which sparked more NBC concerns.”

While stories about Fallon’s drinking have been circulating for a while, The Post reports that he has ditched his longtime publicist and recently hired Brad Pitt’s crisis PR manager.

NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt strongly denied there’s any concern at the network, telling The Post: “As a producer and star [Fallon] delivers over 200 hours of television a year, and any suggestion that we have concerns about his behavior or have given him any kind of ‘warning’ is completely false.”

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Oct 26, 2016
1:01 pm

Why Playboy’s No Nude Policy — Which Only Started in March — Might be Short-Lived (NY Post)

Playboy’s conversion to a magazine featuring scantily clad models instead of its trademark nudes could soon be reversed. The New York Post reports that the redesign appears to be back on the table after a handoff of power at the publication.

“Hugh Hefner, the 90-year-old founder of Playboy magazine who is battling health problems, has stepped down as the monthly’s chief creative officer and been replaced by his son, Cooper Hefner,” The Post reports, noting that Cooper, 25, has been an outspoken critic of the no-nudes policy.

“Interim Chief Executive Ben Kohn, managing director of Rizvi Traverse, the magazine’s majority owner, confirmed the son had risen in the ranks and had taken on the expanded role,” the story reports, adding: “Rumors are swirling that Cooper would love to pull back the sheets and return to fully nude women next year — but sources say Kohn wants no part of it.”

Cooper Hefner addressed the possibility of a return to nudity in an email to the publication, stopping short of revealing any plans.

“Some aspects of the brand won’t alter, as there have been a number of successful creative and business pivots over the last few years that are worthy of celebration,” he said in the email. “However, as we close in on our 64th year as an organization, I can assure you certain aspects of our formula will change. We are currently implementing a creative strategy for the brand moving forward. Let’s just say, 2017 will be a big year for our rabbit.”

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Oct 26, 2016
12:44 pm

Donald Trump’s Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Is Demolished — Click Through to Video (Deadline)

A man dressed as a city construction worker took a sledgehammer and a pickax to Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame early this morning, smashing the star as bystanders taped the event.

You can click through here to Deadline Hollywood to see the publication’s exclusive footage.

“The man, who told Deadline his name was Jamie Otis, said he was trying to extract the star to auction it off and raise funds for the women who have come forward to accuse Trump of sexually assaulting them over the decades,” Dominic Patten writes in the Deadline report. Patten, a senior editor at Deadline, reportedly witnessed the event.

“The embedded terrazzo and brass star, dedicated in 2007 in recognition of the now-GOP presidential candidate’s days as host of NBC’s ‘The Apprentice,’ was smashed to bits, with shrapnel flying everywhere in the early-morning hours at the star’s sidewalk home at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. near the Dolby Theatre,” Patten reports, adding: “The incident occurred around 5:45 AM with a few bystanders stopping to watch. An LAPD police cruiser showed up around 6:15, but Otis already had left the scene.”

Oct 26, 2016
12:31 pm

Sumner Redstone Sues Ex-Girlfriends for Millions (NY Times)

Sumner Redstone, the media mogul behind Viacom and CBS Corp., filed a lawsuit Tuesday against two of his ex-girlfriends, The New York Times reports.

“The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks about $150 million that Mr. Redstone’s lawyers say he gave to his former girlfriends Manuela Herzer and Sydney Holland,” The Times reports. “Mr. Redstone’s lawsuit is the newest front in a nearly yearlong litigation war between Mr. Redstone, the 93-year-old former Viacom chairman, and Ms. Herzer.”

Redstone’s lawsuit accuses Herzer and Holland of engaging in what the report calls “a yearslong scheme to drain his wealth by running up credit card bills, selling stock and changing his estate plan.”

The report adds: “The lawsuit also cites several emails from a nurse for Mr. Redstone saying that Ms. Herzer and Ms. Holland continually berated him and falsely said his family did not want to visit.”

Ron Richards, a lawyer for Herzer, indicated that the lawsuit has no merit. Richards is quoted in the story saying: “All of the gifts Mr. Redstone made to my client and to Sydney Holland were made with his full knowledge and blessing.”

Oct 26, 2016
12:29 pm

BBC America Unveils Sequel to Landmark Series (TVWeek, BBC America)

BBC America has taken the wraps off plans for a sequel to the channel’s landmark 2006 documentary series “Planet Earth.”

“Planet Earth II,” narrated by Sir David Attenborough, will premiere Saturday, Jan. 28. BBC America released a stunning trailer for the project, which you can see below.

“A decade on from the groundbreaking natural history series ‘Planet Earth,’ we’re able to go further, get closer and capture behavior and places that would have been impossible 10 years ago,” BBC America says in an announcement. “Over three years in the making, in 40 different countries, on 117 filming trips and a total of 2,089 shooting days, BBCA’s ‘Planet Earth II’ brings a whole new view of our planet.”

Says Sarah Barnett, president of BBC America: “Ten years on, ‘Planet Earth II’ is a startlingly fresh and epic sequel from the world’s premiere natural history filmmaking unit at the BBC. This extraordinary show captures our planet in innovative and mind blowing ways — there’s an emotional resonance to that which is remarkable to experience. We believe audiences of all ages will feel utter joy watching our stunning natural world unfold in ways we’ve never before seen.”

“Planet Earth II” is a BBC Studios Natural History Unit production, co-produced with BBC America.

The announcement adds: “Captured in stunning ultra-high definition detail, BBCA’s ‘Planet Earth II’ is an immersive exploration of the islands, mountains, jungles, grasslands, deserts and cities of the world.”

Here’s the extended trailer for the project …

Oct 26, 2016
11:44 am

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes: TV Everywhere’s Fatal Flaw (FierceCable)

Jeff Bewkes, known as the father of TV Everywhere, now admits the initiative didn’t work, with the Time Warner CEO saying the complexity of programming deals dealt the fatal blow.

FierceCable reports that Bewkes made the revelation while discussing the proposed $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. by AT&T. Bewkes appears to now be all in on over-the-top, such as the upcoming DirecTV Now.

It was Bewkes who originally spearheaded what became known as TV Everywhere, traditional pay TV’s plan, launched in 2009, to distribute content to mobile devices.

“In order to create innovative digital TV products that compete with next-generation video services offered by technology companies like Netflix and Facebook, pay-TV operators and media companies can’t have an ‘arms-length’ relationship, concluded Bewkes, who spoke alongside AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Monday during AT&T’s third-quarter earnings call,” the story reports. “They need to be under the same roof to get stuff done.”

Said Bewkes: “We’ve been trying for years at Time Warner to get more video-on-demand.” He added that “it has taken a long time” for the required deals between programmers and operators to come together.

“Bewkes seemed to concede that the pay-TV industry’s quest to augment its traditional, linear packages with authenticated multiscreen services didn’t work out as planned,” FierceCable reports. “Simply stated, the vast complexity of program rights deals rendered a consumer experience that — when examined holistically — isn’t on par with services like Netflix.”

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