Feb 27, 2017
12:15 pm

Amazon Adopts Drama Series (TVWeek, Sky Atlantic)

The latest addition to the Amazon lineup of original drama series, set to be released later this year in the U.S., is “Fortitude,” an Arctic thriller that has already been around for a season but is now becoming an Amazon Original Series.

Amazon Studios and Sky Vision announced the addition of the series to Amazon’s lineup of dramatic original series for Prime Video in the U.S. The first season of “Fortitude” premiered on Sky Atlantic in 2015 and has been available in the U.S. on Prime Video since January 2016.

“Season two of the series will become an Amazon Original Series and features an ensemble cast, including Richard Dormer (‘Game of Thrones’), Dennis Quaid (‘Vantage Point’), Sofie Gråbøl (‘The Killing’), Luke Treadaway (‘Clash of the Titans’), Darren Boyd (‘Stan Lee’s Lucky Man’), Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (‘Jar 2pm City’), Mia Jexen (‘Happiness’), Alexandra Moen (‘Strike Back’), Verónica Echegui (‘The Cold Light of Day’), Sienna Guillory (‘Stan Lee’s Lucky Man’), Ramon Tikaram (‘Jupiter Ascending’), Parminder Nagra (‘ER’), Michelle Fairley (‘Game of Thrones’), Robert Sheehan (‘Misfits’) and Ken Stott (‘The Missing’),” Amazon announced.

The announcement adds: “‘Fortitude’ follows Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Dormer) of Fortitude, a small isolated community with a captive population in an environment that is undergoing change and upheaval due to parasite and pathogen activity.”

Joe Lewis, Head of Comedy, Drama and VR, Amazon Studios, says in the announcement: “In ‘Fortitude,’ our customers will experience Dennis Quaid in a remarkably compassionate role, joined by an ensemble cast that has resonated with audiences globally. We’re excited to add such a beautiful and captivating series to our originals slate.”

Here’s a teaser for the show’s first season, posted by Sky Atlantic …

Feb 27, 2017
11:41 am

Head of Media Agency Named New President-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (the 4A’s) (Ad Age)

The American Association of Advertising Agencies, widely known as the 4A’s, has named its new president-CEO. Ad Age reports that Marla Kaplowitz has been appointed to the post.

The report says the 4A’s confirmed in a statement that its board had selected Kaplowitz for the job, although her start date had not been finalized.

Kaplowitz, who has overseen MEC North America since October 2011, will succeed longtime 4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill, who is expected to remain with the association until June 2017.

Feb 27, 2017
11:20 am

A Win for the Prosecution This Time as Legal Maneuvering Continues in Bill Cosby Criminal Case (AP, TVWeek)

The criminal case against comedian Bill Cosby, accused of drugging and molesting a former Temple University employee in 2004, has been the focus of legal maneuvers in the past week, with at least one ruling going the defense’s way.

But in a decision today, the AP reports that the defense team lost its bid to have the case moved from the Philadelphia suburbs. Instead, a jury from outside the area will be brought in to decide the case.

Cosby’s trial is scheduled to begin June 5.

Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill rejected a request by the defense to move the trial because of media reports branding Cosby as a “serial rapist,” the AP reports. O’Neill said the jury will remain sequestered during the trial.

“O’Neill’s ruling came after lawyers for the 79-year-old TV star argued that his trial should be moved to Philadelphia or the Pittsburgh area,” the AP reports. “The larger, more diverse population would make it easier to find unbiased jurors, lawyer Brian McMonagle argued, but even then, he said, there was no guarantee that Cosby could get a fair hearing.”

McMonagle is quoted saying: “Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the message that has been promoted, in insidious fashion, is that Bill Cosby is guilty, and that Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. I do not believe that there’s a place anywhere in this country now where he can receive a fair trial. Not here, not anywhere. I hope I’m wrong.”

Prosecutors have argued that the defense is trying to shop for a jury.

“In a court filing, District Attorney Kevin Steele called the pretrial publicity argument ‘a red herring.’ He said Cosby couldn’t expect to find a jury anywhere that is ‘oblivious’ to the dozens of sex assault accusations lodged against him by Andrea Constand and other accusers,” the AP reports.

Steele wrote in the filing: “He’s not entitled to a jury that is ignorant of the facts surrounding his case. The publicity that necessarily follows the rich and famous cannot insulate them from prosecution.”

Feb 27, 2017
10:49 am

Oscars Meltdown Brings Apology, Puts Esteemed Firm’s Reputation at Risk (TVWeek, AP)

It was the kind of mistake that, once you hear how it happened, you almost can’t help wondering how it doesn’t happen all the time.

With two reps for the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers being put in charge of two complete sets of 24 envelopes at two different access points to the stage — and those envelopes containing the names of the Oscar winners being handed to presenters just before they go to the podium — it seems almost inevitable that a wrong envelope might find its way into the mix.

And that’s what happened Sunday night, just as the most important moment of the Academy Awards was about to happen, with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway unlucky enough to have been chosen as the Best Picture presenters.

After Beatty struggled to figure out what to do when he noticed the wrong card in the envelope, Dunaway — thinking Beatty was just goofing around — glanced at the card and blurted out “La La Land.” The card had the name of the movie on it along with that of Emma Stone, the Best Actress winner.

The actual Best Picture winner, as you may have heard by now, was “Moonlight.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers took the blame for the mess, issuing a statement apologizing for the incident. Here’s the complete statement from PwC:

“We sincerely apologize to ‘Moonlight,’ ‘La La Land,’ Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.

“We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”

The AP reports that PwC may be dealing with more than regret over the matter. After 82 years handling the balloting for the Academy Awards, the London-based firm’s reputation was seen by many as unassailable.

“Now its hard-won image as a dependable partner is under threat,” the AP reports.

The report quotes London branding specialist Nigel Currie calling the error “as bad a mess-up as you could imagine.”

Currie adds: “They had a pretty simple job to do and messed it up spectacularly. They will be in deep crisis talks on how to deal with it.”

The AP notes: “Crisis managers say PwC has no other option than to front-up immediately and explain exactly what happened to contain the damage to its reputation and brand and plot a way forward where there’s no repeat.”

Adds Jeremy Robinson-Leon of the New York-based public relations firm Group Gordon: “There will certainly have to be accounting for this error. The onus will be on PwC, assuming they stay as partners, to institute controls to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Feb 27, 2017
10:15 am

Steve Harvey — Who Had His Own High-Profile Gala Disaster — Celebrates Oscars Fiasco With a Few Choice Wisecracks
(TVWeek, Twitter)

If anybody can identify with the embarrassment felt by Oscar presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway after they announced the wrong Best Picture winner Sunday night, it’s Steve Harvey.

Harvey had his own awards ceremony disaster not that long ago. When he was hosting the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, he inadvertently named the wrong woman as the winner of the pageant on the live telecast. In fact, Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel made a reference to Harvey’s misstep during the on-stage chaos after “La La Land” was incorrectly named the winner of Best Picture — instead of “Moonlight,” the actual winner.

In the midst of the surreal moment on stage, as the scope of the disaster was becoming clear. Kimmel said: “Guys, this is very unfortunate, what happened.” Then he took the predictable, albeit timely, jab at Harvey: “Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this.”

Harvey sent out a series of tweets today alluding to the Oscars calamity. In the first, he joked: “Good morning everybody! Went to sleep early last night. So… what I miss? #Oscars”

He later suggested Beatty get in touch for some counseling. His tweet appears below …

Feb 27, 2017
9:19 am

Nicole Kidman Roasted on Social Media For Clapping Like the Grinch (NY Post, The Telegraph, TVWeek, Twitter)

On a night of serious screwups at the Oscars, actress Nicole Kidman emerged as one of the most talked-about — and widely mocked — memes to emerge from the event.

The New York Post’s Page Six reports that the actress — a four-time Academy Award nominee and an Oscar winner in 2003 for “The Hours” — is taking a beating on social media for what many observers say is her “Grinch-like” clapping during the ceremony.

Wrote Twitter user Chris Higgins: “Has Nicole Kidman never seen anyone clap before?”

The U.K. publication The Telegraph quotes a tweet from Luck o’ the Parrish saying: “Nicole Kidman forgot how to clap in the middle of clapping.”

Others on social media came to Kidman’s defense. The Twitter account @OKCTuxiecat posted this explanation: “People making fun of Nicole Kidman’s clapping have obviously never worn rings on both hands that could break or pinch when clapping.”

Judge for yourself — below is a sample posted by The Telegraph …

Feb 27, 2017
8:44 am

Another Oscar Gaffe: ‘Dead’ Woman Shown in Ceremony’s ‘In Memoriam’ Segment Is Still Alive (Variety, TVWeek)

A woman whose photo was featured in the “In Memoriam” segment during Sunday’s Oscars is still very much alive, in what turned out to be only the second-biggest screwup at this year’s ceremony.

Variety reports that Jan Chapman said she was “devastated” when she saw her photo during the segment paying tribute to industry people who have died during the past year. Her image appeared along with words identifying Janet Patterson, Costume Designer.

Chapman and Patterson, who are both Australian, were friends and frequent collaborators. Chapman is a film producer whose credits include “Lantana” and “The Last Days of Chez Nous.”

Patterson, a highly decorated costume designer and production designer whose honors include four Academy Award nominations, died on Oct. 21.

Variety quotes Chapman saying via email: “I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and long-time collaborator Janet Patterson. I had urged her agency to check any photograph which might be used and understand that they were told that the Academy had it covered. Janet was a great beauty and four-time Oscar nominee and it is very disappointing that the error was not picked up. I am alive and well and an active producer.”

Misidentified photo of Jan Chapman during Sunday’s
“In Memoriam” segment (YouTube)

Feb 27, 2017
1:10 am

Pandemonium at Oscar Podium as ‘La La Land’ Loses Statue in Grand Boo Boo
(TVWeek, Mediaite)

There was mass confusion at the end of last night’s Oscar telecast as Faye Dunaway announced the wrong movie as the winner of Best Picture.

As explained later by Warren Beatty, who was presenting the final award of the night with Dunaway, they were not given the right envelope before they went on stage. Instead they were given an envelope that said Emma Stone of “La La Land” had won Best Actress. In the confusion Dunaway announced “La La Land” as the winner of Best Picture.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made YouTube take down almost all videos that had the entire incident, which lasts close to 8 minutes. However, Mediaite has the entire video, which you can watch by clicking here.

To see all the winners of last night’s Academy Awards ceremony — along with the nominees, please click here.

[To see the video of what happened at the end of last night’s Oscarcast, please click here and watch it on the website of Mediaite]

In the screen-grab above, Warren Beatty (right) explains to Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel how the wrong movie got announced as Best Picture.

Feb 27, 2017
12:16 am

Bill Paxton, Star of HBO’s ‘Big Love,’ Dies at 61 (Rolling Stone, TMZ, HBO)

“Bill Paxton, the veteran actor who starred in ‘Big Love’ and appeared in films like ‘Aliens,’ ‘Twister’ and ‘Apollo 13,’ died Saturday, Feb. 25th, following complications from surgery,” reports Rolling Stone.

The story adds, “Though a representative for the actor did not confirm cause of death, TMZ reports that Paxton suffered a fatal stroke post-op following heart surgery.”

Rolling Stone also writes, “Paxton will likely most be remembered for his starring role of Bill Henrickson, a modern-day polygamist living quietly in the suburbs, in the HBO drama ‘Big Love,’ a role which earned Paxton three Best Actor Golden Globe nominations. The series ran for five seasons. In 2012, Paxton was nominated for an Emmy for his leading role in the miniseries ‘Hatfields & McCoys.’

“Paxton was starring in the CBS reboot of ‘Training Day’ at the time of his death.”

To read more about Paxton, please click here, which will take you to the full Rolling Stone story.

Bill Paxton in HBO’s ‘Big Love’


Feb 26, 2017
4:06 pm

Two Printable Oscar Ballots for You. On One, You Pick the Academy Award Winners. The Other Has our Choices Marked for You (TVWeek)

It’s Oscar time! Today, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, is the live telecast of the 89th Annual Academy Awards on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

To find a ballot that you can print out and mark, please click here.

If you would like a ballot that you can print out that is ALREADY marked (with the Oscar picks of TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross), please click here.

No guarantees on Chuck’s picks, of course, but he usually does pretty well.

For your convenience, here are the 2017 winners Chuck is predicting today in each of the 24 Oscar categories:

Best Picture: “La La Land”

Best Director: Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Casey Affleck

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali

Best Adapted Screenplay: “Moonlight”

Best Original Screenplay: “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Sound Mixing: “La La Land”

Best Sound Editing: “Hacksaw Ridge”

Best Makeup & Hairstyling: “Star Trek Beyond”

Best Documentary Feature: “O.J.: Made in America”

Best Documentary Short: “Joe’s Violin”

Best Original Score: “La La Land”

Best Original Song: “City of Stars”

Best Costume Design: “Jackie”

Best Cinematography: “La La Land”

Best Production Design: “La La Land”

Best Animated Feature Film: “Zootopia”

Best Animated Short Film: “Piper”

Best Foreign Film: “The Salesman”

Best Visual Effects: “The Jungle Book”

Best Live Action Short: “Ennemis Interieurs”

Best Film Editing: “La La Land”


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