Sep 2, 2014
9:44 am

One of Music’s Biggest Stars Signs On With NBC’s ‘The Voice’ (Us Weekly)

NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” is bringing aboard one of the biggest stars in pop music. Us Weekly reports that the show signed Taylor Swift, who will appear as an adviser on the program.

Swift, 24, will join the seventh season of the NBC singing competition, and will fulfill a role similar to that of Coldplay singer Chris Martin in the show’s sixth season. Taylor will work with new coaches Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams, as well as returning coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, the story adds.

Swift currently holds the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 with her single “Shake It Off.” The seven-time Grammy winner owns a number of Guinness World Records, including fastest-selling single in digital history and most simultaneous U.S. Hot 100 hits by a female artist, and is the first female solo artist to have two albums sell 1 million copies in the first week.

The show returns Sept. 22.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Sep 2, 2014
9:31 am

Cable Talk Show Canceled (

A talk show has been canceled after just a single season on cable. Announcing the cancellation of Syfy’s “The Wil Wheaton Project” on his blog was the show’s star, actor Wil Wheaton.

The cancellation comes after a 12-episode run for the program over the summer.

The show provided a look at pop culture from a geek’s viewpoint. Wheaton, known for his role as Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” wrote that he received a phone call from an unnamed Syfy executive, who broke the news.

“He assured me that it wasn’t the quality of the show. He told me again and again how much he loved it, how funny he thought it was, how much he liked me, how much he wanted to find other things to do together,” Wheaton wrote.

He added: “Ultimately, he told me, the executives in New York just didn’t think we had enough viewers to justify more episodes. I didn’t say anything about the total lack of promotion off the network, or point out that our ratings were on par with ‘The Soup,’ or that ratings are always lower in summer than the fall.”

Wheaton also wrote: “I thanked him for the call, thanked him for the opportunity to do a show that Syfy had never tried before, and sincerely thanked him for all his creative support.”

He added: “Oh, and let me just stop this before it starts: we nerds have a penchant for letter-writing campaigns and stuff to try and save shows we like. Please don’t do that here. It’s not going to happen, and we should instead put that energy into something else, like getting #butts to trend.”

wil wheaton project-title

Sep 2, 2014
9:23 am

NBC News Veteran Leaves the Network (TVNewser)

A veteran of more than 20 years at NBC’s news division is exiting the network. TVNewser reports that Betsy Fischer Martin, the longtime executive producer of “Meet the Press,” announced she’s moving on.

“Exactly 23 years ago this week I walked a few blocks down Nebraska Avenue from American University to start an internship at a TV show called ‘Meet the Press,’” Fischer Martin wrote in a note to co-workers. “I soon met a lawyer and politico turned journalist named Tim Russert who convinced me to forget about my admission to law school and stick around to help cover the 1992 presidential election.”

Fischer Martin was named as the show’s executive producer in 2002, a job she held until last summer, when she became managing editor of political programming for the news division.

She didn’t disclose her plans for after her departure. She wrote that her decision to leave “comes with the same bittersweet feelings of sadness yet excitement for what’s ahead.”

betsy fischer martin

Betsy Fischer Martin

Sep 2, 2014
9:17 am

Behind-the-Scenes Shakeup on Fox Series (THR)

A Fox drama series has had another shakeup behind the scenes, losing its showrunner after a three-month stint. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Jennifer Johnson has vacated her post at “The Following.”

Johnson took over the role from creator Kevin Williamson, the story notes. She will now focus on development as part of her Warner Bros. TV overall deal.

“With Johnson’s departure, a trio will take over the reins as co-showrunners: director Marcos Siega and writers Brett Mahoney and Alexi Hawley, all of whom are executive producers,” the story notes.


Sep 2, 2014
9:09 am

Radio Station’s License Challenged Over Use of ‘Redskins’ — Challenge Raises Broadcast Obscenity, Hate Speech Issues (B&C)

A challenge has been filed against a radio station’s license, putting the use of the name “Redskins” in the spotlight. B&C reports that the challenge was filed today by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf against ESPN’s WWXX-FM (ESPN 980) in Washington.

The story reports: “According to Banzhaf, his challenge is based in part on the argument by former FCC officials and others that the term is a racial slur and that ‘the unnecessary and repeated on-air use of that derogatory racist word is contrary to current federal law and akin to broadcasting obscenity.’ Unlike indecency, which is allowed but must be confined to the overnight hours — 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. — there is no safe harbor for obscenity.”

The challenge also alleges that the term “Redskins” is “hate speech,” the report notes. Banzhaf “cites studies showing racially derogatory words related to Indians can cause ‘real physical harm, including beatings, bullying and ostracism,’” the report adds.

john banzhaf

John Banzhaf

Sep 2, 2014
8:57 am

Fox’s ‘Utopia’ Gets Rid of a Cast Member Before Taping Starts (TMZ)

Fox has booted a cast member from hits high-profile reality series “Utopia” even before taping started, reports.

The series, which will debut Sept. 7, kicked out Andrea Cox for reportedly violating a confidentiality agreement and trying to contact fellow cast members before filming started, the story reports.

According to TheWrap, contestants were sequestered in a hotel before “Utopia” started taping. With Cox’s departure, only 14 of the show’s original 15 “pioneers” are entering the five-acre set.

The show will tape the contestants as they build their own society in an isolated environment. According to her Twitter account, Cox is a raw vegan chef.

andrea cox

Andrea Cox

Sep 2, 2014
8:49 am

CNN Correspondent Returns Following Drunken Biting Allegations (TVNewser)

CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon returned to reporting for the cable channel after almost a month away from the network, following a lawsuit from two EMTs in Baghdad who claimed she bit them “in a drunken rage,” reports TVNewser.

For her first report on her return, Damon reported from a Baghdad morgue, the story notes.

As previously reported, the State Department reportedly investigated Damon following the alleged incident. She was accused of biting both EMTs on their arms when they tried to treat her on July 19, and later wrote an apology to the U.S. embassy staff, writing that her actions were “inexcusable.”

arwa damon-cnn

Arwa Damon

Sep 2, 2014
8:41 am

More Than 50 Stations Go Dark on DirecTV (THR)

After more than three months of negotiations to resolve a carriage dispute between DirecTV and Raycom, Raycom said its 53 stations have gone dark on DirecTV’s systems, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“This is frustrating for DirecTV customers who rely on Raycom stations for information and entertainment. We share their frustration and are committed to doing everything we can to resolve this issue and have been for the last 12 weeks of discussions,” said Raycom CEO Paul McTear in a statement on the company’s website.

For its part, DirecTV said in a statement posted on its website that Raycom Media “is denying DirecTV customers and some of its own most loyal viewers access to its local broadcast stations unless they pay more than double just to receive the same broadcast shows that remain available over the air for free.”

DirecTV added that despite the blackout, football fans will be able to see “all of the first few weeks’ action uninterrupted, and the majority of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC series won’t premiere for several more weeks.”


Sep 2, 2014
8:29 am

Cult Superhero Parody to Be Revived (TheWrap)

A cult superhero parody series that was a critical favorite is being brought back for a reboot. reports that “The Tick,” which starred actor Patrick Warburton as the superhero of the title, is coming back to life thanks to Amazon.

The original show aired for just nine episodes in 2001, but drew “near universal critical acclaim,” the story notes. The show is based on a comic book of the same title, while an animated version ran for three seasons in the mid-1990s.

“Warburton worked out a deal with Sony Television, who have held the rights since the show’s 2001 cancellation, to bring back the beloved character as an Amazon pilot,” TheWrap reports.

Amazon, which is currently streaming its new crop of pilots, is tapping a new way of testing pilots by asking viewers to watch and vote on them after they are produced. Based on customer responses, Amazon decides which shows will move forward and which won’t.

patrick warburton as the tick

Patrick Warburton as “The Tick”

Sep 2, 2014
8:21 am

Controversial Director Lars von Trier Returns to TV After Two Decades (NY Times)

Lars von Trier, the Danish director of projects such as “Nymphomaniac,” is returning to television after a two-decade hiatus, reports The New York Times.

Von Trier will be working on an English-language program called “The House That Jack Built.” His last TV project was a 1994 miniseries that aired in Europe and was called “The Kingdom.”

The Times notes: “In recent years controversy has surrounded Mr. von Trier for his actions in and out of the director’s chair. He was expelled from the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 after joking about being a Nazi and expressing sympathy for Hitler.”

lars von trier

Lars von Trier

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